Lragir.am says that for many Armenians the murder of Gevorg Mherian, a deputy chief of the national police, “once again showed what kind of a country Armenia is, how free criminal elements there feel, what an atmosphere of impunity means.” It says many will also see the killing as the result of the police fighting against political dissent, rather than crime.
“Hraparak” says that with its relatively cautious stance on Armenia, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) lets it be known that “this problem can’t solved just by punishing the country.” “Trouble is, however, that Europe itself has contributed to the emergence of this intractable situation in Armenia during all these years,” says the paper. “And this is not just about the position of European observers during elections. The problem primarily lies in the patchy results of European policy on Armenia’s democratization.”
“Haykakan Zhamanak” agrees with this assertion and singles out the PACE and the Council of Europe as a whole for blame. The opposition paper says the organization has done little to make Armenia’s rulers respects European norms and democratize the country’s political system. “Let us recall the events of recent years in Armenia that related to that organization’s obligations to our country,” it says. “The closure of A1+, the falsification of the 2003 presidential elections, the monopolization of TV air, the distortion of the electoral system, the formation of a coordinated vote-rigging machine, the predetermination of the results of the 2003 and 2007 parliamentary elections, the falsification of the results of the 2005 constitutional referendum, and finally the rigging of the 2008 presidential election. And yet the PACE has only registered progress in Armenia during all this time, thereby sharing responsibility for all the negative phenomena.”
“The criminal investigation into the post-election events has demonstrated that in some cases people simply expressed their political attitude and after various manifestations found themselves in a web of actions punishable by criminal law,” Artsvik Minasian, a member of an Armenian parliamentary commission investigating the unrest, tells “Hayots Ashkhar.” Minasian is also a member a working group tasked with drafting amendments to Criminal Code clauses relating to provocation of “mass disturbances” and coup attempts. He believes that those who organize riots must continue to be punished by the state. As for the “usurpation of state authority,” Minasian says the code should amended to differentiate between those who call for an overthrow of the government and those who take “concrete actions” for that purpose.