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20.05.2018 | army

'If anything happens to me, accuse G.:' The victim of sexual violence wrote a note from the Stepanakert military police

'If anything happens to me, accuse G.:' The victim of sexual violence wrote a note from the Stepanakert military police
There is a deceitful idea circulating in the Armenian army, which is encouraged and rooted by defense ministers, army officers and small and medium-rank officials, that the Armenian officer is virtuous and can never allow actions degrading soldiers’ dignity, and, if ever such a thing happens, he will be persecuted by fellow servicemen. In short, the Armenian army is not a place for soldier rapists. The criminal experience, however, proves the opposite.

The victim of sexual actions was first victim and then accused

Officer G. of one of the military units in Martakert region of the Defense Army has raped the soldier K., who was serving directly under his supervision.The officer is still in freedom, but the raped soldier was held in custody as a victim until he changed his testimony and now is charged with libel (Article 333 of the RA Criminal Code). Recently, he sent a note to his mother. "If something happens to me, accuse G.

"The rape, according to K.`s preliminary testimony, occurred during the first week of his service in the army. For a little while, the young man keeps this fact secret even from his mother. But the mother had notices his depressed state of mind. On February 3, on the day of the military oath ceremony, the mother was visiting her son. That’s when he told his mother about what has happened to him, and then, at insistence of the mother, he told the same in the unit’s commanders’ presence. From that point on, criminal proceedings were inevitable. K. testified that his immediate commander has wrapped him in a blanket, beat him and, after four days, raped him, and has done so for a few more days. The soldier`s mother, returning to Yerevan, visited the office of the "Journalists for Human Rights", presenting her son`s situation. In response to our inquiry, G. categorically denied that he could "do such an indecent thing for the Armenian officer." But the soldier hastily was taken to the military police where he was kept in isolation. Thus, the victim appeared in a hostage situation, and the suspect remained at large.

Under the unlimited control of military police

The former Defense Minister Vigen Sargsyan, through his speaker Artsrun Hovhannisyan, responding to our “The serviceman was beaten, raped, and now is being tried: Vigen Sargsyan keeps silent” (04/11/2018) publication, states that the young man “was not kept in in the isolator of the Stepanakert military police, but, according to Part 2 of the Article 20 of the RA Armed Forces Disciplinary Code, as well as for the purpose of ensuring the soldier’s personal security due to the nature of the criminal case, he was isolated from his military unit and had other barracks conditions applied to him." Artak Voskanyan, deputy head of the third garrison investigation department, who coordinates the proceedings, told Forrights.am:

"Taking into consideration the circumstances of the case, he is kept separated from others." In reality, "barracks" are in the territory of the military police, in fact, under the unrestricted possession of the military police officials, and it was not surprising that K., being under intense pressure, changed his testimoniy. 

Homosexual foreigner`s version and Artsakh lawyer`s threats

In his new testimony K. stated he was a homosexual. He noted that, before being drafted into the army, he had had sexual intercourse with a young man living in Los Angeles whose name does not appear in the case file. He also testified that he offered sexual relations to the officer G. who rejected him. When asked why the young man lied to his mother, he answered that he had missed her.

Lawyer Hayarpi Sargsyan went to Stepanakert on March 27 and had a meeting with K. At that time he had already changed his testimony. "My impression was that K. was oppressed and that’s why he gave such a testimony. Besides, he was deceived; he was told that he would be freed in 10 days and he did not want to believe he was deceived," says the lawyer. K. renounced the lawyer.

On the advice of the investigator Artak Voskanyan, K. involved another lawyer, a public defender from Artsakh, Mr. Iskhanyan who took over the case.

The public defender Ishkhanian did not answer our questions about the situation of K., telling us that he was not obliged to do so and that the Azeris and others were listening to us. He was very angry that a journalist has called him. The allegations of pressure on K., according to him, were stupid. "Two days ago I have visited K., there were no such things, and if such conversations continue, I will abandon his defense," the lawyer threatened. When asked who has appointed him, was it investigator Voskanyan, he replied: "The staff leading the investigation, I will work during the preliminary investigation and will get out of this case."

K.’s mother assures us that Ishkhanyan gave her very different promisses: “He tells me that my son will be freed under provisional release and will serve [in the army]. He says, we will do this quickly.”

Occasionally, K. is able to talk on the phone, but, “after calling, weeps and asks all the time: ‘Mom, when are you coming? Mom, I am scared!’ He speaks of nothing else but this,” tells the mother.

Earlier, she had applied to Vigen Sargsyan, now the former Defense Minister, but the latter did nothing to save the soldier. Tomorrow she is going to apply to the Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, the newly appointed Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan, Human Rights Defender Arman Tatoyan, Prosecutor General Arthur Davtyan requesting to at least transfer her son to the central military hospital. She assures that her son is in urgent need of doctors and psychologists.

The conclusion of the forensic examination confirms 

K.’s initial testimonyK. was subjected to forensic medical examination twice and there are two different conclusions. Criminalist Ruben Martirosyan, getting acquainted with them, noticed that the first examination, under No. 87, affirms K.`s testimony on being subjected to brutal sexual acts. In the immediate area of his intestinal tract, traumatic injuries were observed caused by a blunt tool. "In this conclusion, it is noted that the incident took place 7 to 10 days before the examination, which coincides with the date specified in the boy`s initial testimony. But later, probably, with the intention of releasing the offender from liability, the second expertise has been ordered, in the conclusion of which another time for the injuries is stated—up to one and a half months. That is, the time of the injuries is adapted to the false testimonies extorted by the investigators. This young man is kept as a hostage. Not long ago he managed to send a short note telling that if anything happens to him, G. will have to be accused.

It is believed that G. has access to the MP unit, where he continues to subject the boy to pressures and blackmail him, because, if the boy gets out of the MP, he will tell everything; not only he will insist on his initial testimony but will also name all the people who forced him to give false testimony against himself,” says the lawyer.

Syuzan Simonyan
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