By Anush Dashtents
Over two and a half years after five gunmen staged a massacre in the Armenian parliament, investigators say they are still trying to identify individuals or forces that could have planned the shock killings. A separate inquiry into possible masterminds of the crime is approaching its two-year anniversary with no end looming on horizon.
But military prosecutors conducting it dismissed on Wednesday widespread public skepticism about their ability to establish the full truth about the assassination on October 27, 1999 of then Prime Minister Vazgen Sarkisian, parliament speaker Karen Demirchian and six other officials.
The deputy chief military prosecutor, Artak Harutiunian, claimed that the investigators are “actively continuing” to study several theories of the killings and have made some progress this year. “The fact that none of the theories has been disproved or confirmed is not sufficient grounds for asserting that the investigation is not effective,” he told reporters.
Harutiunian, however, refused to give any details of the probe or even disclose crime theories which his agency thinks are the most credible. He said only that two teams of investigators have conducted “numerous investigative operations” abroad but declined to reveal the names of those countries.
The dominant belief in Armenia is that the assassinations had been masterminded by certain powerful forces that wanted to remove the powerful Sarkisian-Demirchian duo form power. However, the five jailed assailants who have been standing trial for more than a year have repeatedly said that they acted alone.
Many relatives and friends of the attack victims accuse Kocharian of obstructing the inquiry. Some of them still suspect that he was behind the bloodbath. Those suspicions were at heart of a seven-month government infighting that followed the parliament shootings.
But the investigators, who initially appeared to support that theory, have failed to find any link between the gunmen and the president or any member of his entourage.