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Parents of Dead Soldiers Expect Remedy only from Pashinyan

On June 19, 2020, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan met with the parents of soldiers that died in controversial non-combat circumstances in the army. They have been for years protesting against the ineffective work of law enforcement bodies, often, their deliberate concealing of crimes against their sons and justice. These grieved parents have been protesting in front of the government building almost every single Cabinet meeting day, Thursdays before and after the Revolution. On July 3rd, they had a meeting with Nikol Pashinyan after their protest. Former attempts to have the cases of their sons’ deaths reopen and reinvestigated, have failed due to the engagement of the same investigators that allegedly led to ineffective investigations.

The parents claim, they only trust Prime Minister Pashinyan in the “rotten system.” An earlier meeting aimed at discussing the reopening of investigations at the National Assembly in late October 2019, ended up with scuffles with representatives of the Prosecutor’s office and Investigative Committee parents blame for failing justice and concealing and destroying important evidence. Other possible schemes involving the same system have been rejected by the parents for the same reasons.

At today’s meeting, Pashinyan told the parents that the current efforts will make sense only if parents have full trust that he is only interested in the truth around the issues they bring up.

At the first meeting on July 3, Pashinyan laid out the principles around which the “truth-finding” consultative investigative group was to work. It is comprised of three lawyers designated by Nikol Pashinyan and three by the parents whose work can be paid for by the state. The group will review the criminal dossiers of each of the 8 cases and will make a up report for the Prime Minister with conclusions of what had happened to these soldiers in reality (murder, suicide, accident) or whether it is no longer possible to investigate the case and will document such reasons. If it is found that evidence was destroyed or preliminary investigation was conducted in such a way as to make it impossible to find out the truth, then legal proceedings will follow against those who perpetrated that.

The precondition of the Prime Minister is that parents must accept the results of the final conclusions regardless of findings. If at the end of the first case review, any disagreements or distrust emerges, they process will be terminated and new avenues will be sought for recreating trust. 

At today’s meeting, Prime Minister’s Adviser Anna Vardapetyan and representative of parents Arayik Papikyan reported the progress of establishing the group so far and the group’s working principles. The sequence of cases to be reviewed has also been determined.