After the loss of their son in the 44-day war, the Hakobyan family did not recover from the indifference of the state bodies, and now, when they demant for justice, the court hearings are postponed.

26-year-old Gor Hakobyan was one of the soldiers of the famous “Chemists Group” of Vagharshapat, when on October 20, 2020, by the order of General Andranik Makaryan, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces at that time, he was taken to Kovsakan (Zangelan) by bus with a group of 61 soldiers.

The connection with Gor has been cut off since October 21. According to the materials of the criminal case being examined in the court, General Andranik Makaryan gathered this group in the Kapan military unit and ordered to “comb” the Azerbaijani group of 12-15 people who entered Kovsa. He also noted that he will personally participate in the operation. However, the 62 Armenian servicemen found out that more than 500 Azerbaijani groups were waiting for them at the already mentioned place.

On the morning of October 20, 2020, accompanied by the commander of the “Chemists” military unit, lieutenant colonel Arsen Abgaryan, now defendant, those 62 servicemen moved to Kovsakan in three buses. Around 07:00, the group reached the beginning of Kovsakan but, 500-600 meters from the local school, it found itself surrounded by Azerbaijani armed forces. An unequal battle began, and the enemy, having the advantage of numerical and technical means, gradually encircled them. In fact, only 22 servicemen managed to get out of the 62-person crew captured in the battle, and 5 of the 40 servicemen were captured, the remaining 30 are either considered missing or killed.

“On October 22, we went to the “Chemists” military unit. Some of the boys’ parents were already there; they were looking for their children. Commander Abgaryan told us that the boys went to Zangelan and were captured. We said, ‘You are the commander, you should have been with them, why aren’t you with them,?’ It turns out that he wasn’t with them,” Gor’s father, 51-year-old Abraham Hakobyan, tells

According to Hakobyan, none of the servicemen who were captured and then returned during that battle do not talk about the incident, do not describe the circumstances of the battle, how the 22 servicemen managed to escape and whether they were saved or escaped.

“They have closed their mouths, no one is saying anything. When they came from captivity, at first, they spoke something else, then they changed their words, they didn’t speak at all,” says the father who lost his son.

After the war, the family members of the servicemen of the “Chemics’ Group” tried to go to Kovsakan to find the bodies of their sons, but the weather conditions were not favorable. The next attempt was in January 2021. Abraham Hakobyan says that they went to negotiate with the Azerbaijani side, received permission, dug up the area of combat operations and transported the remains of the found bodies in 14 bags to Armenian morgues.

He says he gave a DNA test and they were given a jaw, a wing, a part of the chest and three legs at the Yerevan morgue. “They called in May and said, there was DNA match, come and take the relics. We went to have the relics that should have been washed and ready, but they didn’t do that either. We opened, they washed them. We opened the bag, saw that there were three legs in it, and said, “What are you giving me? Does a person have three knees?” And when they took it to wash, they kept one and said, ‘This is not yours.’  If it was not ours, why were you giving it to us?”

Such careless attitude of the relevant bodies makes the Hakobyans not to trust the results of the identification. “I don’t know, I’m still waiting for my Gor to call,” says 71-year-old Susanna Tatoyan, Gor’s grandmother.

According to Abraham Hakobyan, they did not have the right to take the “Chemists’ Group” to the war, to the place of actual combat operations, but ignoring the order, they took them. Moreover, according to him, the “chemists” did not have armor, nor were they armed with proper weapons and ammunition. “They had to check the presence of chemicals, decontaminate the areas from chemicals. That was their job in the war,” says the father.

In the framework of this criminal proceeding, the former deputy chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, General Andranik Makaryan, the commander of the “Chemists’ Unit” Arsen Abgaryan, the head of the staff of the military unit Armen Kulakchyan and the head of the unit’s recruitment department Ellada Harutyunyan appeared as defendants. The trial was interrupted because the defendant Ellada Harutyunyan has been pregnant and, according to the medical certificate, was in the postpartum period and could not participate in the sessions. In this regard, the court, chaired by judge Sargis Dadoyan, decided to announce a long break.

After the war, Arsen Abgaryan, the commander of the “Chemists’ Group”, visited the Hakobyans and gave them a Gospel. Nevertheless, the commander’s behavior is offensive to this family. “He should not hide the information. He doesn’t talk. He hides a lot. What is he afraid of? I don’t understand.”

Hasmik Hambardzumyan

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