By Karine Kalantarian
Law-enforcement authorities have not done enough to ascertain the circumstances in which ten people were killed in last year’s post-election street clashes in Yerevan, a pro-government member of Armenia’s parliament said on Friday.
“My subjective evaluation is that as things stand now, the investigating body has not achieved sufficient success on that front,” said Artsvik Minasian, a ranking member of a parliamentary commission conducting a separate inquiry into the unrest.
“I think it is imperative to step up actions in that direction so that they have a positive or satisfactory result,” Minasian told RFE/RL. “I consider those actions to have been unsatisfactory so far.”
At least eight civilians and two police servicemen died on March 1, 2008 in vicious clashes between security forces and supporters of opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian demanding a rerun of the February 2008 presidential election. More than 100 Ter-Petrosian supporters were arrested in the following weeks for their involvement in what the Armenian authorities call an opposition bid to seize power.
None of them was charged in connection with those deaths. Nor has the Special Investigative Service (SIS), a security body leading the criminal investigation into the unrest, prosecuted any police officers for the use of deadly force against opposition protesters.
Minasian spoke to RFE/RL after he and two other members of the parliamentary commission met Gorik Hovakimian, one of the SIS investigators dealing with the case. They discussed the emergence of a new fact related to the death of Tigran Khachatrian, one of the eight civilian victims.
Testifying before the commission earlier this week, Khachatrian mother, Alla Hovannisian, revealed the findings of a forensic examination which suggested that the young man was repeatedly hit by a blunt object before being shot dead late on March 1. According to Minasian, the SIS official “had no explanation” for possible circumstances of these injuries.
The lawmaker, who is affiliated with the governing Armenian Revolutionary Federation party, said the commission will ask the investigators to identify and question police officers who he said saw an ambulance pick up Khachatrian’s body moments after his death.