The chief of the Armenian police, Alik Sargsian, on Thursday pointedly refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing in the actions of two high-ranking police officers who have been sacked by him for what state prosecutors called a murder cover-up.
Major-General Hovannes Tamamian, the controversial head of the Directorate General of Criminal Investigations at the national police service, and Colonel Varuzhan Adamian, the police chief of Yerevan’s Arabkir district, were formally relieved of their duties late last month.
Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian’s said through a spokesman that he himself asked Sargsian to fire the two men because of a bungled police investigation into the deadly shooting of a man in Arabkir in May last year. The spokesman, Shahen Tonoyan, said that police investigators deliberately failed to prosecute the murder perpetrator and charged another individual instead.
The murder is now investigated by the Special Investigative Service (SIS), a law-enforcement body subordinated to state prosecutors. The SIS has still not clarified whether Tamamian and Adamian are also facing criminal proceedings.
Sargsian was reluctant to pass judgment on the embarrassing inquiry, saying only that the two men were sacked “in order not to obstruct the investigation.” “I have no right to accuse [Tamamian] at this point,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian service. “Even if I don’t take into account the presumption of innocence, he was my work friend, we worked together.”
Sargsian claimed that he is “absolutely uninformed” about details of the case. “It’s an unfamiliar, unclear story for me,” he said. “If the investigation proves [Tamamian’s guilt,] I will personally accuse him.”