By Armen Zakarian
Lawyers representing families of officials killed in the 1999 parliament shootings said on Wednesday they will appeal against a court decision to pardon six men charged in connection with the carnage. The appeal will be filed to the higher Review Court.
The suspects, who were on trial along with the five parliament gunmen, had criminal proceedings against them stopped last week after the presiding judge, Samvel Uzunian, ruled that they are eligible for a recent government amnesty. Three of them, the police officers who guarded the parliament building on the day of the attack, were set free in the courtroom. State prosecutors have said their “negligence” allowed the armed group led by Nairi Hunanian to walk into the parliament building without difficulty.
Relatives and supporters of former prime minister Vazgen Sarkisian, parliament speaker Karen Demirchian and other victims have condemned the judge’s decision, saying that it was taken at the behest of the authorities that allegedly impede the court proceedings. Their attorneys contend that the sweeping amnesty did not extend to those suspects that are currently standing trial.
But government officials and pro-government lawyers say Uzunian’s actions did not run counter to the amnesty bill approved by the parliament.
The ambiguous wording of its relevant provisions leaves room for differing interpretations.