The case of the murder of Private Karen Karapetyan, a soldier from Gyumri, has been in court since November, but the trial has not started yet. The excuses vary from court’s inability to provide notification, to inability of the legal successor of the victim to travel from Gyumri to the Stepanakert court, where the case is being heard. He asked to transfer the trial to Armenia. But the court even “threatened” the legal successor of the victim, the mother of the murdered Karen Karapetyan, that if she does not appear in court again, she will be brought to court.
Karen Karapetyan was killed early in the morning of March 12, 2019, in the Mataghis military unit. Artyom Grigoryan, a resident of Goris and a fellow serviceman of Karapetyan, is on the defendant’s chair. He was the driver of the “detachment” in the military unit. He comes from a poor family. According to the case materials, he was sweeping the area in the military unit. He was charged with violating the rules of handling weapons. The prosecutor’s office, represented by Boris Bakhshiyan (this prosecutor’s name frequently appears in connection with scandalous, incompletely investigated cases) considered it proven that Grigoryan tried to joke by directing the weapon toward Karen, and shot. The defendant fully admitted his guilt, and most likely they want to investigate the case in an expedited manner.
There is a document in the case file, which proves that the military prosecutor’s office had an inclination to cover up the case. At the end of August, Artyom Grigoryan stated to the investigator that he declined the right to ask counter-questions to the witnesses who testified against him.
However, it should be noted that the preliminary investigation did not go on not smoothly. Grigoryan’s actions have been described three times, each time differently. Khanum Mkrtchyan, the representative of the victim’s legal successor, draws our attention to this circumstance. Initially, Artyom was charged under the first part of the article on murder, then they toughened the charge, using the second part that refers to murder committed with hooligan motives. It carries a sentence of 12 to 20 years in prison or life imprisonment. In a few months, however, the charge, which presupposes a harsher sentence, was changed again, and this time they used Article 373, Part 3 of the Criminal Code on violation of the rules of handling weapons, which negligently caused death of a person. In this case, the sentence is 3 to 8 years. It is clear that Grigoryan’s position has improved not due to the defense of his Artsakh lawyer.
Khanum Mkrtchyan, studying the materials of the preliminary investigation, came to the conclusion that a deal had been made between the prosecutor’s office and the defendant, and Artyom Grigoryan was not the real culprit.
He was not even given an explanation before his arrest. Khanum Mkrtchyan mentions: “The criminal case does not show how they found out that the suspect was Artyom Grigoryan. Only the scene was inspected, and Artyom Grigoryan immediately became a suspect. Forensic evidence was collected from soldiers at the scene, which revealed that no shots were fired by Artyom Grigoryan’s hands. It means that the shooter is not this person.”
Earlier, Ruben Martirosyan, a military expert and human rights activist with the Journalists for Human Rights organization, noted a number of strange circumstances while studying the materials of the criminal case. For example, the investigator wrote that Artyom Grigoryan fired shots at Karen from a rifle attached to him, but later the shots, which may indicate premeditated murder, became “a shot”. According to the forensic medical report, the body of Karen Karapetyan and the other soldiers had numerous injuries, traces of strokes by a blunt object, some of which were caused just minutes before his death, and, more importantly, a shot was fired from Karen Karapetyan’s weapon too.
Six of the eight soldiers were also injured. “Witnesses were questioned about the injuries, but did not elaborate,” said Khanum Mkrtchyan. By the way, Artyom Grigoryan’s body was not injured, therefore, he did not take part in the fight that took place in the military unit and it is not ruled out that he has not been at the scene of the incident at all. There is a fascinating detail: just before the murder, the camera installed in the observation post was changed.
Forrights.am experts visited Artyom Grigoryan and talked to him. The young man left an overwhelming impression on human rights activist Zhanna Aleksanyan:
“He was at home, very upset and depressed. They live in unbearable housing conditions. He is one-sided orphaned,” the human rights activist describes. Grigoryan did not want to talk about the murder, did not answer questions, and cried.