The opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK) on Monday officially condemned the findings of a renewed criminal inquiry into the 2008 post-election in Yerevan which justified the use of lethal force against its supporters.
In a long statement presented by one of its senior members, Gagik Jahangirian, the HAK alleged a continuing government cover-up of the deaths of eight civilians and two police personnel on March 1-2, 2008. It said the killings will not be solved as long as Armenian law-enforcement authorities “blindly serve” the government.
President Serzh Sarkisian ordered the Special Investigative Service (SIS) to investigate the deadly clashes between opposition protesters and security forces “more meticulously” in response to HAK demands last April.
In an extensive report issued late last month, the SIS insisted that that the deadly violence was sparked by opposition “rioters” and that security forces were therefore right to open fire on them. But the law-enforcement agency subordinate to prosecutors again failed to shed more light on the unrest deaths, citing a lack of eyewitness accounts and other factual information.
Jahangirian scoffed at that explanation. “An invisible force compelled everyone who stood next to both the murdered civilians and the police officer and conscript to look elsewhere or do something else at that moment,” he told a news conference with sarcasm. “By strange coincidence, they all didn’t see the most important thing.”
Jahangirian, who served as Armenia’s deputy prosecutor-general until February 2008, also accused SIS investigators of seeking to “discredit” the civilian victims and portray them as criminals instead of identifying those who killed them. He said they also failed to investigate the legality of former President Robert Kocharian’s decisions to use the armed forces against protesters and call a state of emergency in Yerevan. The HAK considers Kocharian’s actions unconstitutional.
The ex-president has repeatedly claimed the opposite, saying that HAK leader Levon Ter-Petrosian used the disputed February 2008 presidential election to try to stage a coup d’etat. Ter-Petrosian and his associates insist, however, that the authorities ordered the crackdown to enforce the results of a fraudulent vote.