(Saturday, September 10)
“Hraparak” reports that Friday’s rally by the Armenian National Congress (HAK) failed to live up to expectations that the opposition bloc is going to launch non-stop anti-government protests in Yerevan. “The HAK leader [Levon Ter-Petrosian] made no such announcement, although he said that even if the dialogue [with the government] continued its course its outcome would still depend on the extent of popular pressure [on the authorities,]” says the paper. It says Ter-Petrosian did not elaborate on his claims that the authorities will cave in if the HAK ratchets up pressure on them through more frequent rallies.
“Aravot” criticizes a draft Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) resolution which says that Armenia has overcome the fallout from the March 2008 post-election violence. “A crime was committed on March 1, 2008,” argues the paper. “People got killed. The page of this or any other crime can be deemed turned only if it is solved and guilty verdicts against its perpetrators have entered into force. Everything else is empty talk.”
“In effect, this is the kind of resolution that the Armenian authorities have for years wanted to get,” writes “Yerkir.” “This victory is granted to them not by the PACE or its Monitoring Commission but the Armenian National Congress, and this is the only tangible result brought about by the dialogue between the authorities and the Congress that began about two months ago.”
“168 Zham” publishes an interview with Colonel-General Yuri Khachaturov, chief of the Armenian’s army General Staff. He strongly denies claims that continuing non-combat deaths of Armenian soldiers stem from an atmosphere of impunity within the armed forces. “In the General Staff alone we have conducted 53 internal inquiries this year,” says Khachaturov. “If minor incidents occur and the damage is not great -- eye bruises and the like -- the commander of that army unit reports to us in writing and we analyze and discuss that. If there is stab or firearm injury, if there is death, then somebody from the General Staff heads to the relevant unit and deals with the investigation.” According to Khachaturov, 149 soldiers and officers have been subjected to disciplinary action, while 27 others have been sacked or demobilized this year.