During the interview, Avetik Ishkhanyan expressed an opinion that in the foreseeable future, the perpetrators of March 1 events will neither be detected, nor punished as punishing the police will mean undermining the basis of the authorities.
"If you punish police officers who committed torture or violence or beatings during elections, will the police further obey your instructions in critical situations? Instead, they will rather think: “Well, if I follow these instructions, I’ll be punished.” Since the 1990s, the Armenian authorities have mostly relied not on the people’s vote, but rather on the law enforcement agencies that help them to maintain their power."
The human rights activist also notes that the role of the police in Armenia is to protect the authorities, which contradicts the democratic values.
"In Armenia, the police acts by instructions rather than by law. The role of the police in civilized countries is to protect public order and human rights. It’s a public structure rather than an institution serving the authorities. But in Armenia, the police is an institution serving the authorities rather than the state."
Avetik Ishkhanyan also draws attention to the fact that a number of legislative amendments following the current introduction of the parliamentary governance system are actually initiatives justifying the March 1 events and leading to replication of such cases.
"If the Republican Party, ARF, Tsarukyan Bloc and Yelk Bloc are really concerned over non-replication of the March 1 events, the police should become the Ministry of the Interior and the National Security Service - the Ministry of National Security; they should be under parliamentary oversight. There should be a separate law for the investigative agencies so that they are independent from the prime minister. This will be the first step to exclude and prevent in the future any events like March 1. And by adopting the draft laws, the National Assembly will justify March 1."
Derenik Malkhasyan, Media Center Project Editor/Coordinator
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