“I would be foolish if I did not do that:” Seyran Ohanyan left deep and confidential study on April War in Defense Ministry

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The Committee on investigation of the circumstances of the April War will commence its work on Tuesday in the National Assembly. The powers of the Investigative Committee will be exercised by the Standing Committee on Defense and Security of the National Assembly, headed by former Deputy Minister of Defense of the Republic of Armenia Andranik Kocharyan, member of “My Step” faction.

In the talk with the radio station “RFE/RL”, the head of the “My Step” faction Lilit Makunts said that the sessions of the Committee will be mainly closed. The Committee will determine the extent to which the materials will be made public.

Forrights.am asked RA Defense Minister at the time of the April War Seyran Ohanyan what are his expectations from the Committee, and if there are worries that it can be directed against some people.

“I can only say that there is a big, deep analysis in the Defense Ministry. I did it in my time. I would be foolish if I did not do it,” said Seyran Ohanyan. “It must be done in the Ministry of Defense and confidentially. That’s what they should do. Who are the Committee members? More than half of them have not even served in the army.”

Another question was that if the investigation were to be carried out in the Ministry of Defense, how would the situation be revealed, as the same officials still work there. The Spokesperson of the Defense Ministry Artsrun Hovhannisyan, in response to our inquiry about the study, said that it was a closed study. An open analysis of the occurrences has been published in the Ministry of Defense’s magazine.

Earlier, some time ago, in an interview with Forrights.am, in response to our question if the intelligence has given information that Azerbaijan was going to attack, and the specific day of the attack, Seyran Ohanyan said: “I cannot say about specific days and so on about the headquarters, but the information on preparation we have received first of all by the intelligence of the Artsakh army.”

The question on how then can be explained that our soldiers were unprepared in the positions and unaware about the attack, had problems with bullets, weapons and gasoline, the former defense minister assured:

“I want to inform you once more that the Artsakh Defense Army has fulfilled its task. We have not had any shortcomings. It is also due to the information of the commanding staff, the soldiers that the Artsakh Defense Army has fulfilled its task by different tactical techniques. “

Former Deputy Defense Minister Gagik Melkonyan thinks that even MPs who did not serve in the army are able to uncover many problems connected with the April War.

“This commission will listen to people who took part in the events directly. What does serving or not serving in the army have to do with, let’s say, the question on why the equipment, machines did not have fuel? “

According to the former deputy minister, the head of a department Komitas Muradyan, who was a patient in a hospital at the time of the War and was not in the service, was fired from work; the head of the intelligence Karapetyan has reported that there were accumulations in the border from the actively in service have been held accountable.

“That is why the Commission should work so that each guilty person receives his/her punishment; instead of firing innocent people,” stated the former deputy minister.

As it is known, the Armenian side lost about 100 soldiers and four civilians during the four-day war, though Azerbaijan’s losses were much more. Armenia also lost 800 hectares of land, including the Lele-Tepe heights.

Member of the NA “My Step” faction, Chairman of the Standing Committee on Defense and Security Andranik Kocharyan told Factor.am that there will be discoveries in case of which tough decisions will be made.

A year after the April war, the Helsinki Citizens Assembly Vanadzor Office published a report on the four-day April War. According to the authors of the report, no substantial investigation has been carried out on essential information and facts about corruption revealed. There was no justification for dismissals in the armed forces. No official has been held responsible for the deaths of the servicemen and for gross negligence and inactivity that led to it.

Meanwhile, after the publication of the report, on November 17, 2016, the information provided by the RA Minister of Defense and his spokesman was regarded inaccurate, “playing on the emotions of the parents of the servicemen”.

On March 17, 2017 the RA General Prosecutor’s Office issued a statement according to which in 2016, during the four-day long April War, there were no cases of failure of combat vehicles due to fuel-related issues, and consequently, no failures to perform combat missions were recorded. Nevertheless, several criminal cases have been filed with connected to diesel fuel defalcation.

Shortly after the April military actions in 2016, On April 26, by the decree of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, three high-ranking officials from the Defense Ministry were fired: Deputy Minister of Defense and Head of Logistics Department Alik Mirzabekyan; Head of the Communications of the RA Armed Forces and the Head of the Communications and Automated Control Systems Management Department Major-General Komitas Muradyan; Head of the Intelligence Department of the RA Armed Forces, Major-General Arshak Karapetyan.

According to the Helsinki Citizens Assembly Vanadzor Office report, on May 18, 2016, the Head of the Vehicle Services Section of the RA Armed Forces Armament Department, Colonel Davit Abrahamyan was charged with abuse of power. The latter recognized himself fully guilty, testified and completely restored the damage caused to the RA Ministry of Defense. This was followed by firing and legal charges against several other army officials.

Nevertheless, according to the HCA of Vanadzor, no proper investigation was carried out by the law enforcement bodies on the circumstances of the deaths of the servicemen who died during the April military operations and the reasons that led to those deaths, including the lack of adequate management, lack of the necessary quantity of military equipment, ammunition, technical malfunctions, improper medical care, or other criminally chargeable circumstances.

Marine Kharatyan

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