Investigations of the deaths of soldiers have almost been stopped in a state of war. The preliminary investigation body, the prosecutor’s office has ignored these cases.
The murder of Andranik Mkrtchyan, a hero of the April war who died in August 2017 in the Meghri military unit, is one of these cases. Three years have passed, but the mystery of his death has not been revealed yet.
The body of a 26-year-old captain was found in one of the offices of the military unit, with a gunshot wound to the area of his jaw. The next day, the investigating team opened a case under the first part of Article 110, “Suicide”, because a note was found in the captain’s pocket asking not to blame anyone for his death. Later, as a result of a re-examination conducted at the request of the aggrieved party was revealed that, in addition to the letter, there was a draft, a piece of paper, on which certain parts of the captain’s handwriting and the words used in the text of the letter were reproduced. In other words, someone tried to reproduce Andranik Mkrtchyan’s handwriting, did exercises before falsifying it, forgetfully leaving the script at the scene. However, these facts were ignored.
The Investigative Committee persistently continued to assert the version of suicide, and in December 2019 the proceedings were suspended on the grounds that the person who instigated the suicide was unknown.
On May 22, Khanum Mkrtchyan, a lawyer with the organization Journalists for Human Rights, petitioned the body conducting the proceedings to remove the case from suspension and resume the proceedings, but was rejected without any explanation. “Then we appealed to the court against the decisions of the investigator-prosecutor. The Syunik court rejected us, arguing that the investigative body is not deprived of the opportunity to withdraw the case at any stage, to resume or to appoint an expert, that it is within the competence of the investigative body. We have now appealed the decision of the Court of First Instance and appealed to the Court of Appeal. We are waiting,” says Khanum Mkrtchyan.
She provided ample evidence proving that an unscrupulous, false investigation was carried out.
At our request, Khanum Mkrtchyan brought together all the facts that prove that Andranik Mkrtchyan could not have committed suicide, that he was killed.
“Andranik Mkrtchyan sent a message to his girlfriend via Viber social network that he would write to her in half an hour, but he did not write because he had been killed. The incident took place on Sunday. That day, Andranik regularly received phone calls from the military unit telling him to go to the unit, although he was supposed to go there only on Monday. This means that someone needed Andranik to go to the military unit that day. The brown trace found on the captain’s clothes, which may be a trace of blood, was also found in Mkrtchyan’s official apartment. However, this trace was not sent for examination. It has been abolished. The report of the aggrieved party on the destruction of material evidence by the investigators was again sent to the same investigative body, which has destroyed that evidence: this is absurd,” says the lawyer.
Khanum Mkrtchyan reminds that in May 2017, a couple of months before his death, Andranik Mkrtchyan had an argument with the traffic police, who said they would kill him.
In addition to the gunshot wound to the lower jaw, Andranik Mkrtchyan was found with scratches on the left half of his face (one day old) and on the chest area (3-5 days old), which, according to the forensic doctor, were traces of a blunt object impact. However, investigators did not find out under what circumstances the deceased received those injuries.
“According to forensic examination report No. 115 of 24.07.2019, no blood was found in the ointment taken from the bullet presented in the examination, no cells of any tissue, including brain tissue, were found in the preparations made from the ointment extract on the bullet presented to examination. It means that the bullet found at the scene did not pass through Andranik Mkrtchyan’s head, it means that Andranik Mkrtchyan was killed, that he was killed with another weapon in another place,” says Khanum Mkrtchyan. The prosecutor’s office did not respond to reports of crimes committed by investigators. “It is obvious that the preliminary investigation body has rendered the mentioned criminal case inactive and does not want to conduct an objective and comprehensive investigation,” the representative of the victim’s legal successor told Forrights.am.