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Femicides Mostly Go Unpunished in Armenia, Report Says

Over the past five years, at least 30 women were killed in Armenia by either a current or former intimate partner, while the majority of femicide perpetrators have not been charged with or convicted of the murders, according to a report published by the Armenian Coalition to Stop Violence against Women. 

Often, the authors write, leaving the abusive relationship precipitates the last violent attack that leads to a victim's death; thus, the most dangerous time for a woman who is being abused is when she tries to leave. Among the registered 30 cases of domestic violence homicides, at least 4 victims made and attempt or had already left the abuser at the time of their murder. 

The lack of proper legislation and institutional support also facilitates violence against women. “Death threats and other warning signs are overlooked, as officials lack the capacity to carry out appropriate risk assessment or are unwilling to do so. Many victims of femicide had implored the police to assist them on a number of occasions, but to no avail.

“Perpetrators of femicide have been largely unpunished or subject to light sentences and only a handful have been jailed, contributing to the perpetuation of gender-based violence in the country,” the report states, adding that in court, it is not uncommon for perpetrators' sentences to be reduced due to mitigating circumstances, such as “extreme jealousy” or “temporary insanity.”

The Armenian political authorities have on several occasions rejected draft laws on domestic violence initiated by the country's women's rights organizations, and the authors say that Armenia's authority figures “are either not cognizant of or strongly opposed” to improving women's rights. “The lack of political will hampered by those in government encourages institutionalized sexism and an atmosphere of impunity and indifference, while the lack of domestic violence legislation continues to obstruct the women's access to their fundamental human rights to safety and protection.”

The mass media, according to the report, also plays a fundamental role in constructing and perpetuating social constructs and narratives of violence for audiences to consume. “Many of the most popular television programs reinforce misogynistic and patriarchal norms and entertain ideas of controlling women through violence and oppressing them.”