Point of View

Prosecutor’s Office Rejects the Appeal of Relatives of March 1 Victims


Armenian Prosecutor General's Office has rejected the appeal of the relatives of March 1 victims for being unsubstantiated. 

The letter from the Prosecutor's office says: "Reject the appeal protesting against inaction of RA Special Investigation Service and demanding to recognize the fact of violating the rights of the victims and their legal successors for being unsubstantiated."

Victims' relatives protest inaction of Special Investigation Service. The complaint says no legal proceedings have been instituted for murders, and relatives of victims have been recognized as their legal successors only 4-5 months after events. The scene of action has not been examined or surveyed, the preliminary investigation has not found out which police subdivisions have been located at the scene of action, not all weapons of police subdivisions involved in the operation have undergone experts' examination, the preliminary investigation body does not present materials of investigation to the victims legal successors which will allow the latter to protect their rights, enter protests and motions.

Alla Hovanisyan, mother of one of March 1 victims, Tigran Khachatryan, says they were from the very beginning convinced that prosecutor's office will reject their appeal but they did not expect that the rejection will be ungrounded.

"Authorities are playing with us trying to save time and prevent us from applying to the European Court," says Alla Hovanisyan. "We have no expectations from any instance. We'll be patient. We do not set any more hopes with the authorities since they killed our sons. We will protest as much as needed."   

She says they are going to write letters to the co-reporters of the PACE Monitoring Committee Group John Prescott and George Colombie. Legal successors of 9 victims out of 10 have joined the action; only relatives of police officer Hamlet Tadevosyan did not join them saying they had lost their faith for everything. 

Victims' legal successors' attorney Artak Zeynalyan says the protest is substantiated by Articles 18 and 19 of the Constitution (right for life and to be free of torture and inhuman treatment), Articles 2, 3, 6, 13 of the Convention on the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (these articles stipulate protection of the right from the state's and not individual's actions, and Article 2 protects citizens from arbitrary deprivation of life by state) as well as Articles 59 and 103 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

The attorney says prosecutor's office has not substantiated its rejection, so he has again appealed to them demanding to present grounds for rejecting their appeal.

"The arguments presented in our appeal are grounded by the precedential right of the Convention and European Court of Human Rights," says Zeynalyan. "These arguments refer equally to the RA Constitution and interpretations of constitutional norms by the precedential right of RA Constitutional Court."

Armenia has ratified the Convention on April 26, 2002. In accord with Article 6 of RA Constitution, international agreements are a part of Armenia legal system.

It is the second time that this appeal is sent to the Prosecutor's office. The first time in December Prosecutor's office did not accept it for examination arguing that Artak Zeynalyan did not have a licence of the Special Investigation Service to present interests of victim's legal successors. But when Zeynalyan received the required documents and again presented the appeal, the Prosecutor General's office rejected it considering facts cited by the victims' legal successors unsubstantiated. 

In attorney's words, though prosecutor's office had to send grounds for rejection, he has again appealed to procuracy demanding to immediately present decisions on rejection. Prosecutor's office has to respond in three day time period, which expires on February 18.     

Christine Vardanyan