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Investigative Body Covering Up Armenian Conscripts’ Murder, Expert Claims

The investigation into the death of Armenian conscripts Grigor Avetisyan and Suren Aramyan is being conducted with a number of blatant violations, the representative of Grigor Avetisyan’s legal successor, Peace Dialogue NGO military expert Ruben Martirosyan stated in an interview for Epress.am. Recall, Avetisyan and Aramyan were killed on the night of April 6, 2016. At the time of the incident, the soldiers were located on Armenia’s eastern border, on the second defensive line. According to the investigation, the young men were fatally shot by their fellow serviceman Davit Dumikyan.

Ruben Martirosyan, however, does not believe the official version, insisting  that the cartridges found at the scene of the murder do not correspond to the number of shots allegedly fired by Dumikyan. The expert claims that Dumikyan has been appointed “a designated murderer” to cover up the evidence that would reveal the true culprits. What’s more, Martirosyan points out that one of the weapons sent for a forensic examinations has disappeared.

Recall, on April 6, Grigor Avetisyan’s father, Hermon Avetisyan, travelled to the town of Vardenis to identify the corpse of his son. “I saw a white Lada Niva outside the hospital in Vardenis. When the driver, an unknown man in a military uniform, opened the trunk, I noticed that there were rifles in it. Approaching the car, I saw 5 rifles in the trunk, unpacked and unstamped. One of them, I noticed, had been damaged by shooting, and knowing that my son had been killed by several gunshots, I immediately guessed that it was my son’s rifle. In order to verify my suspicion, I asked the unknown officer whether it was my Grigor’s service weapon. He was not surprised by my question; instead he answered evasively that he did not know,” Avetisyan subsequently said in a crime report filed with Armenia’s prosecutor general Artur Davtyan, stressing that on the photographs attached to the forensic ballistics results there were only four rifles, among them the damaged one he had seen in the Niva, while in the trunk of the military officer’s car he had seen 5 of them.

Another blatant violation, according to Martirosyan, is the fact that Grigor Avetisyan’s murder had been detached from the main case and sent to court separately. The expert insists that the investigations into the murders of the two servicemen should not have been separated as “it violates the integrity of the entire case.” Besides, the investigations has been accompanied with a number of blatant violations, including “the fact that the current suspect did not actually commit the crime.”

“We decided that we had to appeal against this decision and turned to the prosecutor to provide us with the copy of the official document since without it we would be unable to file an appeal. But the corrupt investigative body refused to give us the copy, despite the fact that our appeal was supported by the law. After a two-month struggle, we finally got the copy, but it was too late since the court had already begun proceedings,” Martirosyan said, adding that he has filed a motion with the general prosecutor with a request to withdraw the case from the court.

“It’s been a month and 10 days, but we have yet to receive a response; they are violating both the law and our rights. Instead, the corrupt investigative body has awakened and realized that we intend to take our appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. It’s noteworthy that our appeal has been left unresponded: according to the Article 180 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the investigative body has to either start proceedings or deny a motion within a 10-day period. They are now inviting the victim’s legal successor to the Special Investigation Service, saying that expert Ruben Martirosyan has provided some information regarding the case. They probably mean the information about the missing weapon. But this information has been reported by the victim’s father in his appeal to the general prosecutor. They have failed to mention this because the appeal was filed 5 months ago and has yet to be responded to, which is a gross violation,” the expert argued.

The general prosecutor, Martirosyan went on, does not want to respond to his appeal for withdrawing the case from the court and sending it to a second preliminary investigation as “he has ended up in a lose-lose situation.”

“If he denies our motion, we will appeal to the European Court of Human Rights; if the case is sent back for a preliminary investigation, it will simply collapse because they will have to address these violations. Who will they then appoint a murderer? It’s not a simply task to find a person who will confess to a crime he did not commit,” the expert concluded.

Note, according to investigator A. Gevorgyan, on April 6, Dumikyan turned himself in to the Vardenis military police and confessed to killing Avetisyan and Aramyan: Dumikyan allegedly entered Aramyan’s tent and opened indiscriminate fire at the soldiers inside, before fatally shooting Avetisyan outside the tent. The soldiers’ killing, officials say, was an act of retaliation for a previous harassment and humiliation. Dumikyan has been charged with murder, committed in a manner dangerous to the lives of many people.