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Prosecutor General Discusses Legal Issues Around Gyumri Murder Case

Prosecutor General of Armenia Gevorg Kostanyan understands that the murder that took place in Gyumri on January 12th can lead people to be emotionally charged, but he notes that “this is not the issue where we need to find a solution through emotions, because we are dealing with international law and intergovernmental relations.”

Today, Kostanyan met with journalists in the province of Shirak and said that the Gyumri murder case has two different types of criminal acts։ first, the desertion of a soldier from the military base, which is subject to Russian law enforcement bodies, the other is the murder of six members of the Avetisyan family, which needs to be investigated by Armenian law enforcement bodies.

The Prosecutor General acknowledged that the 4th article of an the agreement between Armenia and Russia regarding “issues of jurisdiction and mutual legal assistance to cases related to the Russian military base found on Armenian territory” states that in case of criminal acts by Russian military base members, the Armenian legal code will be applied and the Armenian legal authorities will function.

Kostanyan also cited the 5th article, which states that crimes that occur within the Russian military base or against Russian military base staff or military crimes are examined according to the Russian law. According to the prosecutor, the first criminal offense is the desertion of the base, which is a military offense.

The Prosecutor General, nevertheless, claimed that there are currently no issues of handing anyone over to another jurisdiction, basically the Armenian prosecutor’s objective is to show that “we actually are dealing with international legal regulations and taking into account that such relations are regulated by an intergovernmental agreement, therefore we have an issue of comparison, compatibility and applicability of the two states' legislations, and the Armenian law can’t be applied as absolute.”

While asked by a journalist if the murder was not a heavier crime than deserting the military base, Kostanyan responded saying that from a legal perspective the crime's weight has no significance. Kostanyan reconfirmed his yesterday’s statement that “ the offender will be subject to criminal liability in the Republic of Armenia”. He also underlined that Permyakov is located in the Russian military base because he was captured by Russian border guards.

The Prosecutor General was also asked where the offender would serve his sentence if he were found guilty, to which Kostanyan answered saying that the issue of serving the punishment is of a different nature and is regulated by international conventions and it is premature to speak of the topic.

“I don’t think that it is a matter of great principle,” said Gevorg Kostanyan.

Note, that the Russian side stated today that Valery Permyakov has been detained and been charged with articles 105.2 (the murder of two or more persons committed maliciously; murder of a minor or a defenseless person) and article 338.2 (desertion with arms entrusted in the military service) of the Russian Federation’s criminal code.

The precautionary measure was established by the Russian 5th Garrison Court in Yerevan.