“Terrorism or Rebellion?” Legal Political Assessment of Yerevan Events
Qualifying the armed group members as terrorists or something else by different senior officials does not contribute to the peaceful solution of the situation in Yerevan. Advocate Tigran Yegoryan said this during the discussion on “Legal Political Assessment of Yerevan Latest Events” at Media Center on July 20.

The situation remains tense in Yerevan for several days. Demonstrators gathered on Khorenatsi street to express their solidarity with "Sasna Tzrer" armed group that attacked the Police Patrol Regiment and controls the area of the regiment and the four hostage police officers there since July 17. They are demanding that President Serj Sargsyan resigns and their leader, "Constituent Assembly" Board member, Jirayr Sefilyan is released, who had been arrested on charges of preparing a coup d'etat some weeks before.

In the story of the occupation of the regiment, Colonel Arthur Vanoyan’s death is one of the most sensitive issues, touching upon and speculation on this issue by all officials is unacceptable. At this point, says the lawyer, the legal qualification of the incident is a serious problem, as all the circumstances should be clarified. "Taking into an account the emotional moods of people, particularly the psychological state of families, this issue is simply unacceptable to be touched, because the facts of the circumstances preceding the death are not enough to make judgments,” he said.  

He also considered it unacceptable to call the members of “Sasna Tzrer” group terrorists by the National Security Service and other officials. "It is not only non-professional, but also violates the rights of guys, the presumption of innocence. These statements do not promote the peaceful settlement of the conflict but also create a predisposition," Tigran Yegoryan said, adding that there is no fact known to the public, which can complement the offense of terrorism.

Advocate Ara Zakaryan agreed with Yegoryan, “After such qualifications it is impossible to have objective, unbiased, multi-sector investigation,” he said.   

President of “Europe in Law Association” NGO Lusine Hakobyan referred to the term “right to revolt” widely discussed among the society. “Although it is enshrined in various international conventions, the debates of international lawyers in this regard is still going on," the advocate said, whose idea was continued by Stepan Danielyan, Head of "Cooperation for Democracy" NGO adding that people have the right to revolt to restore the constitutional order.

According to him, the activities of "Sasna Tzrer" group members is the result of a political process. "Everyone realizes this," he added. "The country is in such a political situation that people have come out to Khorenatsi Street in support of attackers, they came out to protect them. This is the assessment of the current political power, that is, people are for the armed activities, as there is no other way out," he said.

The speakers are of the opinion that the situation should be resolved through peaceful means and negotiations, without new victims and attack. "Everything depends on the government. Practical steps should be taken by the government and the issues should be discussed exclusively under the effective investigation and fair trial guarantees. Without them, legal solutions penetrate the political arena and create a picture of despair," Tigran Yegoryan said.

Arshaluys Mghdesyan, editor/events coordinator at “Media Center”

To contact the author please send an email to [email protected].

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