Why Aren’t Lifers’ Cases Reinvestigated?
20.10.2015
12:00
In Armenia there is a lack of will to reinvestigate lifers’ cases, civil society representatives believe.

The Media Center hosted a discussion on life sentence and possible reinvestigation of criminal cases in Armenia. The speakers included: Zaruhi Mejlumyan, investigative journalist, Head of the Armenian Program of Innocence; Robert Revazyan, member of monitoring group of public control over criminal-executive institutions and bodies under the Ministry of Justice; and Fenya Kocharyan, convict Artur Kocharyan’s mother.

Earlier over 50 inmates of a Yerevan prison serving life sentences went on an open-ended hunger strike, demanding that their cases should be reviewed. The lifers and their relatives have sent open letters to President Sargsyan, the prosecutor-general, the ombudsman, the relevant commission at the Ministry of Justice.

“On October 12 the lifers wrote a letter to the President and proposed possible solutions and mechanisms through ten points. They have been voicing their problems for years, and the bill drafted by Davit Harutyunyan back in 2011 has been pending at the Parliament for four years. The bill fixes a transition to semi-closed regime after a 15-year imprisonment and to the semi-opened regime after 18-year imprisonment. If the bill had been adopted, now over 50 lifers would serve their sentence in a semi-opened regime,” Mejlumyan said.

The judicial authorities are not willing to reinvestigate old cases and correct possible legal errors, Mejlumyan believes.

“And there are innocent people in our prisons, and I can openly make such a statement.”

The discussion also featured the screening of Zaruhi Mejlumyan’s documentary which told the stories of eleven lifers.

“I studied 11 cases in the judicial archives for the documentary and three of the eleven cases revealed new circumstances. I, thus, found the prosecutor, defender involved in these trials. Two cases were filed to the Prosecutor’s Office but got turned down,” Mejlumyan said.

Currently, real evidence is still destroyed in Armenia though “the 2012 Criminal Code defines physical evidence shall not be destroyed in case of crimes against human life and health.”

Robert Revazyan prioritizes the political will when reinvestigating archived cases. The present laws, he believes, make it possible to have a fair trial.

“Why cannot these cases be reinvestigated? If reinvestigated, the cases would disclose that the prisoners are wrongly convicted, and new criminals would have to be found, with their accessories. Public trials, appeals would ensue which is an obligation tough to fulfill,” Revazyan said.

Fenya Kocharyan, mother of lifer Artur Kocharyan, said all the relatives hope for the President’s positive decision.

“We have jointly filed an application to the President’s office requesting to reinvestigate our children’s cases, and we demand and expect an instant solution from him. And if President Sargsyan refuses to solve this issue, our children will continue the hunger strike, and parallelly, we, parents, will go on a sit-down strike,” Fenya Kocharyan said.

The Media Center sent invitations to the Judicial Department, Justice Ministry, Prosecutor’s Office and Standing Committee on State and Legal Affairs at NA but the invitations were rejected.

Lilit Arakelyan, Editor-Coordinator

Please contact the author at lilitarakelyan@pjc.am.

 

Videos
Print Friendly and PDF
More Press Releases
“DEMAND FOR CHANGE WAVE: REACTION OF THE AUTHORITIES AND POSSIBLE OUTCOME OPTIONS”
19.04.2018
11:00
For over 2 weeks, Yerevan has seen continuing civil disobedience actions against Serzh Sargsyan’s appointment as prime minister, led by RA National Assembly deputy Nikol Pashinyan.
"DEMOCRATIC VALUES AND 10 YEARS OF SERZH SARGSYAN'S RULE"
12.04.2018
16:30
“It’s much more important to shape a free society imposing its own will and making it impossible to perceive democracy as a good or evil will of the authorities.
"HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AT PEACEFUL ASSEMBLIES WITHIN SERZH SARGSYAN'S 10-YEAR PRESIDENCY"
12.04.2018
15:00
“Over the past 10 years, none of the authorities has ever been held liable for the human rights violations identified at peaceful assemblies either before, or after March 1, 2008.”
“ARMENIAN EAGLES - VIRTUAL CHESS PRO CHESS LEAGUE WORLD CHAMPIONS"
11.04.2018
15:00
On April 8, ‘Armenian Eagles’ (‘Hayots Artsivner’) chess team was declared the winner of the 1st Virtual Chess PRO Chess League Final Team Championship in the United States. The tournament was first held in 2017 and gathers representatives from all over the world.
“SUPER PRIME-MINISTERIAL’ SYSTEM OR EFFICIENT GOVERNANCE?’
26.03.2018
12:36
Most e-poll respondents believe there are attempts to build a totalitarian state in Armenia.
To reveal the moods among users of Facebook, the most influential social platform in Armenia, the Public Journalism Club carried out an e-poll through Polls for pages tool. The e-poll sought to find out the attitude of the Armenian Facebook users to the changes in the governance system initiated by the authorities to introduce the parliamentary system.
Follow us on social networks
Registration of events
Services
Videos
Press Releases
Armenia-Turkey Events