Thieves-in-Law: How to Dismantle Armenia’s Criminal Underworld

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ara ghazaryan


International human rights expert and litigator Ara Ghazaryan scrutinizes the criminal underworld of crime bosses otherwise known as “Thieves-in-Law.” Find out what the Armenian government plans to do to eradicate these deeply rooted criminal elements in the country.

What we talked about: 


- The concept of  “thieves-in-law,” its structure, unwritten laws and network of criminal institutions.

- Armenia’s government has drafted a bill to fight against this criminal underworld 

- Historical roots of thieves in law in the Soviet Union: A time period when these crime bosses were called in to keep “order” thus giving them “wings” and legitimacy.

- Police usually cooperate with thieves-in-law. 

- Thieves-in-law known to support politicians and political institutions

- Need for a change in people’s mentality; even today, many people prefer to ask for help or solve issues through thieves-in-law rather than through the police or the criminal justice system.

- The issue is widespread in Armenia.

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