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Armenia’s Ruling Party ‘Seeking Retribution’ from Ioannisyan

Nearly three dozen Armenian school and kindergarten principles, who were accused of campaigning for the Republican Party in the pre-parliamentary elections period, have filed an administrative suit against Daniel Ioannisyan, coordinator of the Union of Informed Citizens (UIC) public organization, seeking a public refutation and an AMD 2 million compensation per person.

Recall, UIC revealed in late March that over a hundred public school and kindergarten principals across Armenia had been drawing up lists of their employees, and students’ parents and pressuring them to vote for the Republican Party in the April 2 parliamentary elections.

When discussing the issue in an interview for Medialab, Avetik Ishkhanyan, founder and president of the Helsinki Committee of Armenia, said it had been clear to him all along that the afore-mentioned revelation would not lead to any legal consequences for the principals; “We don’t have an impartial judicial system in Armenia, and the political force that told these people to compile the lists would never punish them. I had no illusions about the issue; there would never be any legal processes [against the principals]. But I was worried that Daniel Ioannisyan might face retribution, and now that the elections are over, we see that the Republican Party is indeed trying to make him pay.”

The school principals, according to Ishkhanyan, have become a tool in the hands of the ruling elite, because none of them would have decided to go to court on their own; “I have no intention to defend the school principals, but I am sure that this was not their personal initiative. These actions were imposed on them from the top. It’s hard to say what their fate would be if they refused to comply with this order,” Ishkhanyan said.

Even if Armenia’s submissive judicial-legal system fulfills the order of the authorities and issues a verdict in favor of the principles, the human rights advocate added, in the international arena, and particularly in the European Court of Human Rights, the Republican of Armenia will once again lose.

Ishkhanyan also called on the country’s civil society representatives not to sit idly by and to do everything in their power to support Daniel Ioannisyan and his organization.