SIS must carry out a comprehensive public investigation
20.05.2014
12:00
To resolve the “March First” case the Special Investigation Service ought to involve in the case a number of Armenian and Karabakh high-level officials, militaries and the then marz governors, as well as carry out a comprehensive public investigation into the country’s deadly post-election unrest, subsequently reporting the findings to the public.

At the Media Center hosted press conference on the “March First” case investigation, Artur Sakunts, head of the Helsinki Citizens' Assembly Vanadzor Office, listed the names of the officials, who, in his opinion, though related to the crime, are not involved in the investigation.

The Head of the Helsinki Citizens' Assembly Vanadzor Office believed that the following officials should be questioned by all means- MPs of the National Assembly, particuarly Ruben Hayrapetyan, Harutyun Pambukyan, Mnats Mnatsakanyan, as well as Mikayel Harutyunyan, then Minister of Defense, Levon Yeranosyan, Third Army Corps Commander, and other officials.

The human rights defender mentioned the involvement of at least 30-35 oligarchs along with their bodyguards in the acts of violence towards people on March 1, 2008. Therefore, the Special Investigation Service is expected to examine all the officials on the list to ensure a swift solution to the crime.

‘The marz governors should be questioned to determine their location and actions, as well as the instructions they were given. Among those of primary interest are the actions of Surik Khachatryan, former head of Syunik Marz,’ pointed out Sakunts adding that it is essential to examine all those who may have known about the troop movement from Nagorno Karabakh to Armenia.

“What we witnessed on March 1 is not a mere clash, but a takeover of power by means of armed forces and the state machinery” believes Sakunts.

This is what Artut Sakunts said with regard to the activities of the Helsinki Citizens' Assembly Vanadzor Office to resolve the March 1 case, 'To our note on the investigation results the Special Investigation Service responded that they find it inexpedient to provide any information, though it is one of their obligations.'

The human rights defender welcomed the fact that the third Armenian ombudsman included the investigation failure in his annual report. Yet, the ‘March First’- related questions, put forth by Armen Harutyunyan, second ombudsman of Armenia, in his special report are still on the agenda.

Additionally, Artur Sakunts recalled the UN Committee against Torture report on March First case, which demands the Armenian authorities to expedite the investigation to resolve the case of the murder of 10 citizens. The human rights defender also announced that though on March 1, 2008 the Military Police recorded the events, the given video recordings are not submitted to the Special Investigation Service.

Artur Sakunts summed up by noting that the authorities seem to lack the will to solve the ‘March First’ crime despite the shifts on the political landscape since 2008 and appointment of a new head of the Special Investigation Service.

Since public participation and access to justice are indispensable for the country’s development, it is crucial to form the public demand. The solution to the ‘March First’ crime, as the human rights defender stated, continues to be one of the fundamental factors of sustainable development for our nation.

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