It seems that the cooperation between the parents of the soldiers who died in the army in peaceful conditions and the Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, which has been attempted for months, will start soon.

The parents of the killed servicemen agreed that the first criminal case to be investigated should be the case of junior sergeant Tigran Ohanjanyan, who was brutally killed on August 30, 2007 in the N military unit located in the village of Karchaghbyur, Gegharkunik region. According to the mothers, the order of the cases under investigation was determined taking into account the statute of limitations.

Nana Muradyan, the mother of Valeri Muradyan, a soldier who died in non-combat conditions in one of the N military units of Artsakh in 2010, told Forrights that “although we do not have big faith, but, nonetheless, there are still expectations for the restoration of justice.”

“We have great confidence in the lawyers we have chosen. So, there is hope that at least the truth will be revealed. The whole world has seen and sees our struggle, there was not a single Thursday that we sat at home. We came, stood up, demanded to find and punish the real culprit of our boys’ murder, to restore our share of justice. We have been waiting for so many years, we will wait a little longer, it’s OK, just we hope that this time they will not cover it up,” said Mrs. Nana.

Armen Mkrtchyan, the father of the hero of the April war, Captain Andranik Mkrtchyan who was found dead in Meghri N military unit in 2017, has high hopes for the formed group. In an interview with Forrights, the father explained confidence that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan had promised to personally follow the cases:

“I think that the covered-up cases of our boys will be revealed, because this time the Prime Minister has taken all the responsibility on his shoulders. During the meeting with us, he said that whatever obstacles we encounter during the investigation of the cases, we should ask him to eliminate them as soon as possible. According to Pashinyan, he will have regular meetings with lawyers to hear the reports on the work done.”

It should be noted that it is planned to form a working group, which will investigate a total of 8 criminal cases. In each case, there will be a separate meeting with the legal successor of the deceased serviceman, after which, as a result of a comprehensive study of the available materials, an advisory opinion will be presented to the Prime Minister.

Although the parents of killed soldiers have different approaches to the issue of trust and expectations, they are sure of one thing: during the first case under consideration, they will understand whether there is a long way to go to continue the cooperation, or not.

“We will see if there is a desire to reveal the truth,” says Mrs. Nana.

During one of the meetings with the Prime Minister, a question arose as to what to do in cases where material evidence has been removed, lost or missing. In order for the investigative bodies not to “manipulate with this circumstance”  and not to close the case, the parents offered to investigate another case in parallel with Ohanjanyan’s case: the case of Levon Torosyan, a conscript who died from a fatal gunshot wound to his head received in May in the “Mehrab” military unit two years ago.

According to the investigative department, Torosyan committed suicide, but his mother does not believe that version:

“My son was killed brutally, by hitting his genitals: his father was standing in the morgue, the forensic doctor recorded the traces of violence on the child,” says the soldier’s mother, Armenuhi Poghosyan.

It should be noted that during the meeting with the parents, the head of the government proposed to form a joint alternative investigation group, which will consist of three lawyers trusted by the parents. In addition, the investigative group will include the three lawyers nominated by him, whose candidacy too must be approved by the parents.

The names of the lawyers and attorneys are still kept secret, only the name of one of them, Arayik Papikyan, is known. The latter informed us in an interview that the technical issues have already been completed, so in the near future the alternative working group will start working. The lawyer hopes that the group’s activities will allow eliminating injustices in the criminal cases․

“Since the group has not started operating yet, at this moment I can only speak with assumptions. Creating a group, of course, means going one step further, but we will say that we have succeeded only when the people who covered up the case, obstructed the investigation or made an unfair decision are held accountable. “Whether it will be a criminal or a staff solution will be decided in the future,” Papikyan says.

To our question whether a fair examination of these cases may or may not have a significant positive impact on the pre-trial system, the lawyer clearly answered:

“Of course. This will be a big step for a fair trial, it will lead to positive systemic changes. At this moment, we will only reveal the truth and present it to the Prime Minister.”

Roza Vardanyan

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