Human Rights in the Armed Forces: 2014 in Review
06.02.2015
12:00
Protection of human rights in the armed forces continues to be a concern although the number of violations of good order and discipline in the armed forces has recently decreased. Representatives of civil society and law enforcement agencies shared their opposing thoughts today at the Media Center initiated panel discussion.

From a perspective of human rights protection, Artur Sakunts, Chairman at HCA Vanadzor, believes, violation of statutory relations is a concern since it often becomes the main cause of serious crimes.

The murder in the territory of the Vazgen Sargsyan Military Institute on January 29 was a result of interpersonal violation.

Artsrun Hovhannisyan, press secretary of the RA Ministry of Defense, disagreed with Sakunts and referred to the statistics that a considerable improvement is observed with respect to the protection of human rights in the armed forces.

“Actually, in 2014 the Armenian armed forces saw a 60 percent decrease of murder cases caused by statutory relations which is a serious achievement,” said Hovhannisyan.

He, however, noted the outrageous crime in the military institute has led to deep reconsideration and it has already been announced the management of the institute will be changed.

Artur Antonyan, prosecutor at the Monitoring Department of the RA General Military Prosecutor’s Office, assured the investigation of the murder case at the military institute will be unbiased.

“An investigation is underway, and I daresay, the investigation will be unbiased and comprehensive,” said Antonyan.

Artur Sakunts contradicted saying all efforts to normalize the situation are likely to have a short-term effect but never a long-term one “since there are systematic issues still unsolved, for instance, corruption.”

“In 2009 we observed a decrease in the overall number of disciplinary penalties. Concurrently, in 2013, as compared with 2009, the number of military criminal cases lodged to the court increased one and a half times. Though violations of interpersonal relations prevailed, a more thorough study showed the majority of lawsuits were aimed at strengthening discipline in the armed forces,” said Haykuhi Harutyunyan, head of the Protection of Rights without Borders NGO.

Harutyunyan pointed out issues regarding the officer personnel, professional education and management.

Zara Hovhannisyan, member of the Army in Reality Civic Initiative said those who seek just condemn for crimes committed in the armed forces have to face closed doors up to now.

“We don’t have any little progress in any of the current cases, and I want the army to serve in an atmosphere that no soldier, no officer will ever disrespect themselves,” Hovhannisyan added.

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