Criminal case of Arthur Hakobyan, who had obtained mental problems during his military service, has been dropped, and no criminal prosecution against his commander Jivan Mkrtchyan will be implemented. The decision was made by the Ninth Garrison Investigation Department of the General Investigative Department of the RA Investigative Committee.

Before receiving that decision, Artur Hakobyan’s lawyer Ara Gharagyozyan had the conviction that the case would be dismissed. “The case has been investigated by the same department that had dropped it four years ago,” says Ara Gharagyozyan.

Back in 2015, Arthur Hakobyan was subjected to torture and ill-treatment in the Agarak military unit, which resulted in mental health problems.

In a year after the incident, a criminal case was initiated at the 9th Garrison Investigation Department of the General Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee according to the RA Criminal Code Article 358.1. Part 2 (committing violent actions or threatening to commit such actions against a subordinate), and Arthur Hakobyan was recognized as a victim. Shortly after that, the criminal case was dropped.

Artur Hakobyan’s lawyer, attorney Ara Gharagyozyan has appealed the decision of the dismissal. The Court of First Instance and the Court of Appeal rejected the appeal, but the Court of Cassation recognized the fact of violations of Arthur Hakobyan’s rights and freedoms as well as the violation of his right to avoid torture.

“The court found that a person with a mental disorder had the right to be heard,” Ara Gharagyozyan reminds.

Artur Hakobyan accuses his commander Jivan Mkrtchyan of torturing her. However, confrontations with him had not taken place before. After reopening the case, confrontations took place not only with Jivan Mkrtchyan, but also with two other people.

Ara Gharagyozian notes that no effective investigation to expose the fact of torture has been conducted. The criminal case was initiated by a wrong article. He also petitioned to appoint an expert examination on the basis of the Istanbul Protocol to find out whether the victim was subjected to torture or not. Both the investigator and the Goris garrison prosecutor rejected his petitions.

Ara Gharagyozian considers this decision unlawful and unfounded. According to him, everything is being done to not disclose the truth. The main reason of the decision to terminate the criminal case is that “… there was not enough evidence obtained that Jivan Mkrtchyan had insulted Arthur Hakobyan, harassed him or insulted him.”

Whereas, as a victim, Artur Hakobyan testified that Major Jivan Mkrtchyan, chief of the 1st Battalion headquarters of the unit # 50869 of the RA Ministry of Defense, demanded from him to water the trees, pulled his ears and smashed his neck with an open palm. Besides, the Major hit on his neck every time he saw him.

On November 6, 2015, at 6 pm, Jivan Mkrtchyan saw Artur Hakobyan and his friend at the checkpoints of the military unit near the store and, cursing and clapping Artur Hakobyan for not being in the unit, forced him to leave the place. In the evening of the same day, near the bathhouse of the military unit, someone hit his back, after which he lost consciousness, then gained it in the medical center.

During the confrontation with Jivan Mkrtchyan, Arthur Hakobyan insisted that Jivan Mkrtchyan has subjected him to torture and ill-treatment.

After the decision of the Court of Cassation, the body conducting the proceedings has not taken any action to disclose the torture case. Ara Gharagyozyan filed a complaint to the Prosecutor General.

He wrote in the complaint: “I have submitted a petition to the body carrying out the proceedings on 26.03.2019 on appointment of an expert examination based on the Istanbul Protocol to find out if Artur Hakobyan had been tortured in the army, regarding of which I received a rejection.

The main reason for refusing his petition to appoint an examination on the basis of the Istanbul Protocol is that “… no evidence has been obtained by preliminary investigation that Arthur Hakobyan has been subjected to torture and ill-treatment in the army.” In his complain, Ara Gharagyozyan also touched upon several important points.

⦁ Both the investigator and the prosecutor do not want an examination to be appointed based on the Istanbul Protocol to investigate if Arthur Hakobyan has been subjected to torture in the army or not.

⦁ The reopened criminal case was initiated with a wrong article, whereas the Court of Cassation recognized a violation of the victim’s right to avoid torture.

⦁ During the preliminary investigation of the reopened, case no active actions were being taken to investigate if the victim has been tortured or not.

⦁ During the preliminary investigation, confrontations are set up with such witnesses who do not provide any relevant and substantial information.

It is a fact that the body conducting the proceedings does not conduct an effective investigation on the case of torture, is again attempting to conceal the case of torture committed in the army. If the Prosecutor General did not cancel the dismissal of the case, the lawyer would appeal to the court.

Susanna Poghosyan

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