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The joint reference submitted by the parents of the 8 servicemen died in the army in time of peace and the RA Human Rights Defender remained unreciprocated. Non formal working group established within the National Assembly with the aim to examine the breaches during the investigation of soldiers’ deaths cases presented neither clarifications nor reports to the parents within one year.
Some of the MPs involved in the Working Group are not in the National Assembly anymore and they informed the parents that cannot be helpful. Parents demand to establish a new working group to examine their sons’ cases.
Recall, on September 30, 2011 the RA Human Rights Defender Karen Andreasyan has initiated the meeting between the parents of the 8 servicemen died in the army in time of peace with the members of the RA National Assembly. The parents protested against the breaches in the investigation of their sons’ cases. The RA Human Rights Defender Office supported the parents to present a reference on each of the case to the MPs where official versions on deaths and the parents’ versions were presented along with the violations and shortcomings during the case investigation.
A non-formal group has been established in the National Assembly. NA Vice-speaker Samvel Nikoyan, Chairman of the Standing Committee on Human Rights Aram Safaryan, Chairman of the Standing Committee on Defense, Internal Affairs and National Security Hrayr Karapetyan and member of «Zharangutyun» parliamentary faction, the first RA Human Rights Defender Larisa Alaverdyan were involved in the group.
The working group was supposed to examine all the cases and react to the issues raised by the parents. In response to www.hra.am inquiry it was received information from the National Assembly that inquiries were sent to different agencies and their responses will be gathered, analyzed and presented to public. The responses were neither published nor presented to the servicemen’s parents.
“I do not know how their work should have been evaluated but one thing is clear: they did nothing for us. We were not aware whom they asked, what were the questions posed and the answers received”, says Anahit Mkrtchyan, mother of Araik Avetisyan who died on December 30, 2001.
For ten years she repeats that her son was killed in presence of four witnesses by the battalion commander Mher Stepanyan who was drunk and wanted to «punish» the guy for not paying for the required leave. However the witnesses were scared to testify and the case was concealed with the version on suicide.
After May 6, 2012 Parliamentary Elections the members of the National Assembly were changed. The MPs who supported soldiers’ parents admitted that they can do nothing in the parliament. The parents referred to the new MPs.
“Nikoyan says that now they cannot answer our questions and we will receive clarifications only during the next session. Chairman of the Standing Committee on Defense, Internal Affairs and National Security Koryun Nahapetyan informs that they have the answers but cannot share them as the direction does not allow”, told www.hra.am Gohar Sargsyan, mother of Tigran Ohanjanyan who died in 2007 at the military unit of Karchaghbyur, Vardenis under suspicious circumstances.
According to the official version Tigran Ohanjanyan was electrocuted. Nevertheless, within five years of preliminary investigation this version was rejected several times with solid argumentation. Parents are confident that their son was killed.
Parents demand to create a new commission
On September 9th parents of the soldiers who died in the army in time of peace organized a protest rally in front of the National Assembly building with the demand to create a new commission in the National Assembly to examine their sons' cases.
They addressed to the representatives of all 7 factions of the NA. Representative of the Armenian National Congress Levon Zurabyan invited mothers to their office to discuss the issues. Member of the Armenian Republican Party faction Arakel Movsisyan told the parents that they are sorry for these cases and will do their best to punish those who are guilty.
Parents met with the member of the Armenian Republican Party Margaret Yesayan, members of the Armenian National Congress Nikol Pashinyan, Aram Manukyan and member of “Zharangutyun” faction Zaruhi Postanjyan in front of the NA building.
Parents do not have big expectations but they hope that opposition forces of the parliament will “move the wheel”.
The Ombudsman is ready to get involved in the new commission
RA Human Rights Defender released a statement on September 10 on his consent to get involved in the ad hoc commission of the NA proposed by the parents of dead soldiers.
«While realizing legislative limitations of interfering with the current cases investigation, there are still serious concerns regarding the breaches and shortcomings recorded during the investigation of several criminal cases of the soldiers died in the army in the time of peace », is stated in the statement released by the Human Rights Defender.
The Ombudsman believes that only thorough and impartial investigation and restoration of justice may ensure the restoration of confidence in relation of the investigation and prevention of violence and murders tomorrow.
Member of the former working group examining the soldiers' cases, former member of «Zharangutyun» faction Larisa Alaverdyan believes the activities of the group were inefficient.
«It appears that as a commission we did not discuss the answers received in the result of the inquiry. As a volunteer member of the group I think that the conducted work was not efficient. We were told to wait until all the answers will be received. When the answers were received, we were told that the cases are still in the stage of preliminary investigation, there are unfinished things and everything was delayed », says to www.hra.am Larisa Alaverdyan.
She hopes that the new group will bring more clarity; the responsibilities of the group members will be defined and clear deadlines will be set for presentation of the report to parents. She highlights that the working group is obliged to inform parents even if there were no answers from the public agencies and present a report which has not been done by the former group.