Armenia’s Special Investigative Service (SIS) published on Monday a report for mass media on the events of Mar. 1–2, 2008, in Yerevan. Recall, national police and military forces, called in to disperse protests following the presidential election, used “excessive force and violence” which left 10 people dead and many more wounded.
The report is divided into 5 sections, description of events; circumstances surrounding the 10 deaths; factual circumstances of the criminal case; work of the media, representatives of international agencies, the Armenian parliamentary ad-hoc committee and experts of the fact-finding group; and the Armenian president’s order and the criminal case process.
In the “description of events” chapter, the report states that “organized in Yerevan’s Liberty Square since Feb. 20, 2008, and lasting for 10 consecutive days and held in violation of the law were mass public events, marches and non-stop rallies disrupting the capital’s activity, road traffic, normal activity of state institutions and the population’s calm and peace.”
The SIS asserts that on Mar. 1, 2008, in Yerevan, with the intention of carrying out and inciting mass disorder, organized were groups of people ready to execute mass violence and within them the distribution of illegally obtained firearms, ammunition, explosive materials, explosive devices and cold arms, as well as a variety of modified items to cause bodily injuries.
According to the report, after dispersing the demonstration at Liberty Square, opposition activists gathered outside the French, Italian, and Russian embassies in Armenia.
The report further states that between 8 and 11 pm on that day, those participating in the mass disorder, through periodically repeated armed attacks on police ensuring public order, tried to move from Grigor Lusavorich then Paronyan streets to Proshyan St., where the homes of presidential staff at 77 Zorap are, and from Proshyan St. to Marshal Baghramyan St., where the Armenian presidential residence and National Assembly are located.
“From among the crowd were the first shots from different firearms and at the same time, thrown were the first grenades and other explosive devices, as a result of which several officers of the RA Police forces received fragmentary, gunshot and other injuries. Receiving several fragmentary injuries as a result of the explosion, police captain Hamlet Tadevosyan, after being taken to hospital, died,” reads the report.
As for the circumstances surrounding the other deaths, the report noted already established evidence: in three cases, the cause of death was the use of a Cheryomukha-7 type of firearm. Note, this type of weapon was used by police officers.
The report also paid special attention to the activity of the fact-finding group created on Feb. 23, 2008, which included Andranik Khocharyan, proposed by the Armenian National Congress, and parliamentary opposition, Heritage Party representative Seda Safaryan. The SIS notes that the fact-finding group’s “documents clearly distorted not only materials in the investigation, but also conclusions of the examinations, as well as explanations given to the fact-finding group by officials.”
The report concludes that the “investigation continues and all necessary investigative actions and operational and search measures are being taken toward finding the people who committed the crimes.”
Note, in the ongoing investigation since 2008, there have been no charges of murder of any specific person.