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March 1 Police Did Not Follow Procedure on Use of Lethal Weapons: Expert

The police can use lethal weapons, but their use has to be according to a specified procedure, said Armenian National Congress (HAK) representative, member of the Mar. 1 fact-finding group Andranik Kocharyan, responding to a request by Epress.am to provide a legal assessment of head of the Special Investigative Service (SIS) group charged with investigating the circumstances surrounding the events of Mar. 1–2, 2008, Vahagn Harutyunyan’s statement that the use of lethal weapons on Mar. 1, 2008, was legitimate.

“If there was an order to shoot, the shooter should have been familiar with procedure. When it became known that they haven’t followed the application procedure, when it became known that the Cheryomushki 7 application was also unlawful, only then did they say, ‘Oh no, according to a 2006 parliamentary decision, this normative document (about the use of Cheryomushki) is excluded from application.’ It turns out Vahagn Harutyunyan doesn’t know that either; he considers legitimate that which resulted in human deaths,” said Kocharyan.

Recall that mass protests against alleged electoral fraud followed the 2008 presidential election in Armenia. On Mar. 1–2, 2008, national police and military forces, called in to disperse the crowds, used “excessive force and violence” which left 10 people dead and many more wounded.