By Karine Kalantarian
One of the five gunmen that attacked the Armenian parliament in October 1999 claimed on Thursday that the armed group had no agreed plans to kill any of the officials sitting there.
Eduard Grigorian told a Yerevan court that he was shocked by the bloodbath staged by gang leader Nairi Hunanian and his brother Karen.
“My outrage has no boundaries, and I can’t describe the state of my mind,” the former pediatrician told court hearings in the year-long parliament shootings trial.
The Hunanian brothers armed with assault rifles sprayed the assembly with bullets, assassinating its speaker Karen Demirchian, Prime Minister Vazgen Sarkisian and six other officials seconds after bursting into the parliament hall.
Grigorian, who carried only a hunting rifle, entered the building shortly after the shots and did not commit any of the killings. Under cross-examination, he said he was supposed to await Hunanian’s orders in a car and decided to go into the chamber only after hearing the gunfire on public radio.
Grigorian testified that under the attack plan designed by Hunanian premier Sarkisian and his ministers were to be taken hostage and forced into resignation. The original plot ruled out any possibility of bloodshed, he insisted, adding that he might have been misled by Hunanian, his longtime friend.
“He now has a very negative attitude towards Hunanian even though he does not display in public,” Grigorian’s defense counsel, Karapet Aghajanian, told RFE/RL.
The brothers have claimed in their testimony that they opened fire after noticing “threatening gestures” on the part of Sarkisian and other officials. They have also denied the widely held belief that the shootings had been masterminded by other, more powerful forces interested in Sarkisian’s and Demirchian’s removal from power.
According to Grigorian, the idea of storming the National Assembly and trying to change government was entirely Hunanian’s and no other persons had been involved in the planning of the attack.