By Armen Zakarian
On Monday Justice Ministry experts began examining a lavatory in the Armenian National Assembly building where it is suspected terrorists readied their weapons before entering the parliaments main assembly hall and killing and wounding a number of leaders and politicians.
Last month during the ongoing trial of the terrorists involved in the October 27, 1999 attack, the attorney for the family of the late Speaker Karen Demirchian who was killed in the rampage asked the court to conduct a forensic investigation of the lavatory to try to find evidence that the terrorists used it as a place to pick up their weapons. After this request the judge ordered the lavatory to be sealed for a later examination that finally took place today.
Nairi Hunanian, the leader of the terrorists has maintained that he and his accomplices entered the lavatory because he was thirsty and wanted to drink water. But many suspect that weapons used in the attack were hidden there and the conspirators contrary to their testimony did not enter the parliament grounds with weapons.
If evidence is found of weapons having been hidden in the lavatory, then the case for a wider conspiracy and insider participation in the attack will gain ground.
During Monday’s examination all attorneys involved in the case and also Judge Samvel Uzunian were present. He told RFE/RL that experts were taking down the drop ceiling to look for fingerprints and any other marks and residue that can indicate weapons having been hidden there.
Attorney Ashot Sarkissian who has initiated the process told RFE/RL that this examination is a simple investigatory procedure that should have been done immediately after the bloody attack, since even then everyone knew that the terrorists had entered the lavatory prior to storming the parliament assembly hall. Mr. Sarkissian refused to speculate about the outcome of the forensic investigation which can take a long time. However, according to him Justice Ministry experts have given assurances that if there are any marks on the drop ceiling tiles left by storing or removing weapons they would be able to positively identify them.