Letter to the President of the RA National Assembly Mr. H.Abrahamyan
Letter to Chairman of the Committee on Civil Society Development of the RA Public Council Mr.H.Hovhannisyan
The A.D.Sakharov Armenian Human Rights Centre joins 9 Nevember campaign dedicated to the International Day Against Fascism and Antisemitism: Never Again
Letter to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Mr. T.Sargsyan
Getting acquainted with the requirements of the RA Law on Income Tax (№ 246 Ն, December 2010), I think it’s reasonable to appeal to you on the socio-economic impact of the Law in the short and long term perspectives >>>>>>>
OPEN LETTER To National Platforms and participants past and present of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum, independent Civil Society Organisations and election monitors in Eastern Partnership countries
Statement: ''We claim to set Hayk Gevorgyan free''
The RA Police Chief, abusing his power and being led by personal interests is persecuting undesirable people, who, as a rule, are human rights protectors or journalists.
This time a journalist, the responsible person for the edition of “Haykakan Zhamanak” (“Armenian Time”) daily newspaper Hayk Gevorgyan is in the “black list”.
On February 3, 2012, at about 11 o’clock people in civil clothing pinioned Hayk Gevorgyan’s arms and took him in unknown direction while he was coming out his house. Then it became known that Hayk Gevorgyan had been wanted by the police since January 23 for the suspicion of running over a citizen on January 13, 2012. After some time he was taken to the detention centre of the “Nubarashen” criminal-executive institution.
According to the RA Police official information source Hayk Gevorgyan is suspected by Paragraph 1 of Article 242 of the RA Criminal Code – “Breach of traffic rules and operation of means of transportation by the driver of a car or other mechanical means of transportation, which negligently caused grave or medium-gravity damage to human health.” and by Article 244 – “Abandonment of the site of road accident by the driver of the means of transportation who breached the traffic rules or rules of operation of the means of transportation”.
According to the RA Judical Code a person can be under investigation, if he hides himself or his location is unknown.
But Hayk Gevorgyan has continued his everyday journalistic activity, has driven the same car, has gone home by the same car, has been present at Government sittings, press conferences and interviews of the officials. This fact is confirmed by his colleagues, and easily can be cleared up. Consequently, there rises a question: how hasn’t the police been able to clear out Hayk Gevorgyan’s location for ten days?
If this was the only case, we would wait patiently for the end of the preliminary investigation, but the crude working style of the police is already giving its results, and it becomes usual for the authorities to violate human rights and fundamental freedoms of citizens and remain unpunished. This is a fact which must be eradicated.
We are sure that the police officers’ activities have been implemented by the order of the Police Chief. The RA Police Chief has slandered the reputation of a whole system by his actions. With this deed he proved once again that the atmosphere of illegality and permissiveness dominates in the republic.
Consequently, any reform conducted in the RA Police system is of imitative nature, as we still continue stating such vicious phenomena (a high ranked official “moves off” or “isolate” the undesirable people) in the country, which strives to become a democratic and legal republic.
This is a challenge for freedom of speech and a wedge for the civil society.
We claim to set Hayk Gevorgyan free and change the restraint.
A.D. Sakharov Armenian Human Rights Centre
About the situation in the Armenian Army
To the President and the Chief Commander
Of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia
Mr. S. Sargsyan
Much respectable Mr.Sargsyan,
On 26.08.2011 there has been another tragic incident - as a result of the beating and torments a conscript – 18 years old Agхassi Abrahamyan died in “Yeghnikner” military unit, Nagorno-Karabagh Republic. He died not fighting for his fatherland, but carrying out his constitutional duty in peaceful conditions.
This and similar incidents serve as signals for You, Legislative and Executive bodies of the Republic and for the Ombudsman. You must respond to it with a public report; the National Assembly must organize public discussions for evaluating the created situations, for adopting practical proposals and later implementing them. But none of the structures has responded.
Being deeply concerned about the present order in the RA armed forces, I, the leader of a human rights protection organization, state that the atmosphere of immorality and impunity dominates in our army.
Being concerned about the moral characteristics of Armenian young people I daresay it’s useless of the representatives of the RA Government to speak about the creation of civil society, democracy and human rights supremacy in Armenia, as the atmosphere of impunity, beating and torments, murders and suicides dominates in the RA Army.
High moral reputation of the Armenian armed forces and soldiers in the society is very important for me. Armenian mothers must be sure of the safety of their sons’ life and be proud of them, as they carry out their holy duty. But, on the contrary, they have lost their hope and faith in their country.
I think this is not the problem of only the RA Ministry of Defense, which, in pursuit to fulfill the regulatory requirements, attracts not only normal boys to the armed forces, but also boys with physical and mental disabilities and often with criminal inclinations. Only this can explain the cruelty and sadism leading to the death of the 18 years old young man.
As a rule, after a regular death of a serviceman in the result of non-statutory relations in the army, high-rank officers (the RA Minister of Defense and others) appear in mass media with assurances that nothing of the kind will take place again, give public performances on punishing the guilty servicemen, assure members of the society that they realize long-term programmes for recovering the moral-psychological climate in the army, etc., however , in practice, young men carrying out their constitutional duty continue dying.
Very often we mention the excellent morality level of our armed forces in comparison with that of the enemy, but let us put ourselves in the place of the mothers whose sons died in time of peace carrying out their constitutional duty. If we appeal to our citizens to defend their fatherland, how can we, looking in the eyes of the parents, guarantee the safety of their sons in time of peace? I think it’s high time to take practical steps instead of making pompous announcements.
It’s obvious that the ministries and agencies, as well as law-enforcement bodies, realizing youth policy, in practice are too far from the process of forming patriotic and humanitarian bases in youth environment. Moreover, our daily activity serves as an example of permissiveness for our younger generation.
Isn’t it the time for the RA government, which is responsible for various branches of power, to consider the problem thoroughly?
Being guided by the principle of supremacy of the national security, but taking as a basis the discontent and just demands of the parents of the killed soldiers, I directly appeal to you:
1. To take effective measures to eliminate non-constitutional relations and ill-natured atmosphere in the army. It’s necessary to discuss the issue by involving all the branches of power and wider society and, in case of need, perform a legislative initiative.
2. To implement a thorough investigation of the all the cases of the soldiers killed and having committed suicide in the RA Army since 1994 aimed at revealing the omissions and violations conducted by the preliminary investigation and trial bodies. On that purpose to create a special commission, where independent experts and representatives of interested NGOs will be involved.
3. To inflict a penalty on all the officials, who have been directly responsible for the process and completion of the investigation of the criminal cases and have conducted violations.
4. To charge all the RA Ministries together with the Armenian Apostolic Church and the interested parties to prepare a complex project for elimination the ill-natured atmosphere dominating in the RA Army. The elaboration and implementation of the project must be continuous, and skilled experts and professionals must be involved in its implementation.
5. The RA Government should elaborate and implement a project defining the strategy of state policy of the RA Army.
6. The RA Government must solve the issue of providing financial compensation for the families of the soldiers killed in the army in time of peace.
7. The RA Ministry of Defense should form a group of psychologists which will periodically conduct examinations and observations for evaluation of the moral-psychological state of all the military servicemen, the results of which must be published.
8. To implement certification of the officer staff, particularly to elaborate criteria on the physical and psychological state of the persons in the commanding staff according to their posts.
9. To elaborate a new system of military service for the male representatives of socially vulnerable layers- citizens included in the benefit list, students of orphanages, as well as citizens with criminal past.
10. To create an archive base of the servicemen, where each of the serviceman will have a characteristics given from his educational institution/school, university, orphanage, directors of prisons/. The RA Ministries and corresponding agencies and the RA Police must be involved in the process.
11. To conduct monitoring in military-medical expertise commissions and examine all the conclusions given by them. To involve representatives from all the interested NGOs.
12. To organize cultural and sport activities in the military units every month.
13. It's necessary to revise the programs and plans of the educational classes conducted in the military units, as, according to the practice, they don't give positive results. The atmosphere of intolerance dominates in the army.
14. To realize verification of the servicemen, officers' actions and constitutional relations in the military units monthly or quarterly.
15. The RA Minister of Defense and high rank officials of the RA Armed Forces must submit quarterly reports to the society on their activity, on the situation dominating in the military units and on their work for raising the moral-psychological level in the army.
I think that the implementation of the above mentioned suggestions can serve as a basis for the dialogue between the RA authorities and the interested NGOs, which will provide confidence and cooperation in joint solution of the issues of the inner policy of our country.
I hope that You are also interested in the high reputation of our republic and nation and can't be indifferent to our national army and to the fate of Armenian soldiers.
Please, respond to these suggestions as soon as possible.
Executive Director of the A.D. Sakharov Armenian Human Rights Centre
Army problems discussed in National Assembly
The situation in the army is of concern ( Collective Statement)
06.09.2011 A number of NGOs, including “The A.D.Sakharov Armenian Human Rights Protection Center” NGO, voiced their concerns in a statement about the situation in the Armenian Army. It runs, "Throughout the establishment of the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh, following the cease-fire in the Artsakh war, the Armenian army went through a hard road to development. Despite certain achievements, with the Soviet military legacy and the vices of the current oligarchic regime, the model of criminal relations of hazing is prevalent in the army. It results in violence, tortures and killings of numerous young people in the republic of Armenia. According to official data, 187 servicemen died in the armed forces for different reasons from 2008 to 2011, while only 25 of them were killed because of the breach of ceasefire. Whereas, according to non-official data based on assessment of various experts, more than 1,500 young men had died in the Armenian army since 1994. The investigations into criminal cases of servicemen deaths in the army are mostly marred with harsh violations of law, the considerable part of which was not detected for years, and as a rule the murders are viewed as suicides. The rights of the parents of the deceased soldiers are oftentimes neglected, and they were ignored by the state officials. The unhealthy moral and psychological atmosphere rampant in the army and the subsequent impunity lead to the growth of crime rates and demoralization of great masses of the society. On the one hand, the plight promotes corruption, since the conscripts' parents seek many illegal means to exempt their sons from military service or "provide" their security in roundabout ways; on the other hand, it contributes to emigration. We the undersigned human rights NGOs - express our deep concern about the plight in the Armenian army and disappointment over the authorities' irresponsible behavior, - consider in acceptable the moral and physical violation and torture against any serviceman in non - combat situation, and the policy to conceal them both by the commanding officers and the investigative bodies, and by the structures of justice, - assess the lack of public stance on the mentioned issue by the supreme commander-in-chief of the armed forces of Armenia as a result of misapprehension of his own role as commander-in-chief, lack of command of the situation, indifference and/or patronage. We demand that the supreme commander-in-chief of the armed forces immediately ensure - detailed examination of the proceedings of the criminal cases on violence against and deaths of the military having served in the Armenian army since 1994 up till now, including murders and suicides, in order to reveal the flaws and the breaches of the law committed by the pre-trial and investigative bodies, involving independent experts and representatives of concerned NGOs, - guarantees to hold all the officials, who bore direct responsibility for investigation process of criminal cases and illegalities, criminally liable, - taking concrete measures to stop hazing and unhealthy atmosphere in the armed forces, by putting forward legislative proposals and by involving representatives of the public concerned - primary, due and dignified compensation for the moral an material loss caused to the servicemen families, whose relatives died in the Armenian army in non combat conditions. In case of failing to take hasty measures in meeting the above-mentioned demands within a month, we attribute the blame and patronage to the supreme commander-in-chief of the armed forces Serzh Sargsyan for the situation in the Armenian army and demand his resignation. Artur Sakunts, "Helsinki Citizens' Assembly Vanadzor Office" NGO Avetik Ishkhanyan, "Helsinki Committee of Armenia" NGO Natalia Martirosyan, "Helsinki Citizens' Assembly Armenian Committee" NGO Zhanna Aleksanyan, "Journalists for Human Rights" NGO Seda Melikyan, "Lawyers for Human Rights" NGO Levon Barseghyan, "'Asparez' Journalists' Club" NGO Sona Ayvazyan, "Transparency International Anti-corruption Center" NGO Isabella Sargsyan, "Youth for Democracy" NGO Lala Aslikyan, "Huys" NGO Levon Nersisyan, "A. D. Sakharov Armenian Human Rights Protection Center"."
Letter to Head of RA Police about an attempting of arson on Shirak branch office
Much respected Mr. Sargsyan,
I’m obliged to apply for your assistance to get urgent solution to an important issue.
On 06.07.2011 at 4:30-5:00 a.m. Gyumri office of Shirak regional branch of the A.D. Sakharov Armenian Human Rights Centre located in 1apt., 38a bld., Mher Mkrtchyan street, Gyumri has been set on fire.
We can state that the act of ignition has been realized by the interested parties, who don’t like the activities of the Shirak Regional branch of the Sakharov Centre directed to the protection of public interests in Gyumri.
It’s not the first attempt to frighten the society, especially the civil society structures in Gyumri.
I don’t want to focus your attention to the social role and significance of the Shirak Regional Branch of the Sakharov Centre in the Shirak marz and territory of the Republic. But the organizers of the ignition don’t understand what echo it will have in the republic and abroad. This can be one more blow for the Republic of Armenia and its reputation.
It’s worth mentioning that even during 1990s, the flourishing period of illegality in Armenia, such actions haven’t been realized towards the Sakharov Centre.
Thus, we apply to you not to investigate the social-political circumstances of the ignition, but to discover its customers and implementers and punish them using all the power granted to you by the RA Legislation.
My requirement is based on the fact that the inspectors, who are at charge of this case, have superficially examined the scene of the crime and haven’t paid attention to the existence of some material evidence (e.g. the metallic cord by which the ignition equipment have been fastened).
Once more, I beg your direct assistance in the process of discovering this crime.
Head of the A.D. Sakharov Armenian Human Rights Centre