YEREVAN (Arka) — Armenian Ministry of Justice will soon unveil a draft law on confiscation of ill-earned assets, Deputy Justice Minister Anna Vardapetyan told reporters on Thursday.

Earlier, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said that in the context of the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing, the commitment to introduce the institution of non-conviction based asset forfeiture is established by the 4th recommendation of the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF).

He also recalled that in 2015, the MONEYVAL Committee of the Council of Europe approved the evaluation report for the 5th stage of implementation of the FATF recommendations, which states that the Republic of Armenia should consider introducing the institution of non-conviction based asset forfeiture in order to improve the practice of confiscating ill-earned assets.

He then said that in 2018, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development approved the fourth stage of the report on the compliance of the Republic of Armenia with the UN Convention against Corruption, which states that the institution of non-conviction based asset forfeiture has not been as of yet introduced in Armenia. The report calls on the Republic of Armenia to introduce the new tools provided for by the Convention, including the aforementioned institution in a bid to improve the effectiveness of criminal investigations.

Vardapetyan said the draft law has already been sent for consideration by international experts, who will return it for revision with their suggestions and comments. She said the bill does not provide for criminal liability and will be presented as a statement of claim against ill-earned assets.

According to Pashinyan, this mechanism is an element of transitional justice. In his words, there are cases when a citizen must explain the source of acquisition of assets, and in this case, it is not the presumption of innocence that acts, but the presumption of guilt. If a person cannot prove that he/she acquired assets legally, then the acquisition of this asset is considered illegal.

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