Relatives of an Armenian family of seven murdered by a Russian soldier have demanded that Armenia’s Constitutional Court overturn a lower court’s refusal to order Russia to pay them a hefty financial compensation.
They are continuing to seek 450,000 euros ($500,000) in damages for what see as the Russian state’s responsibility for the January 2015 killings committed in Gyumri.
A middle-aged couple, their daughter, son, daughter-in-law and 2-year-old granddaughter were found shot dead in their home in the morning. The Avetisian family’s seventh member, a 6-month-old baby boy, died of his stab wounds a week later. Valery Permyakov, a soldier who served at a Russian military base in Gyumri, confessed to murdering them shortly after deserting his unit earlier on that day.
The two daughters of the murdered couple and the parents of the Avetisians’ slain daughter-in-law filed a civil lawsuit against Russia during Permyakov’s trial in Gyumri last year. A local court rejected the compensation demand, saying that it runs counter to Armenia’s criminal justice legislation.
The victims’ relatives now want to have that decision declared unconstitutional. The Constitutional Court formally agreed to consider their appeal on Wednesday. Its hearings on the appeal will likely start in October.
“The Russian Federation bears responsibility for its soldier who had health problems,” insisted Lusine Sahakian, one of the plaintiffs’ two lawyers. “The idea was to ensure that by also bearing some financial responsibility Russia understands that it has no right to send soldiers like Permyakov to serve in Armenia,” she told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am).
Sahakian and the other lawyer, Aramazd Kivirian, said they will appeal to the European Court of Human Right if Armenia’s highest court also rejects their clients’ demand.
The Gyumri court sentenced Permyakov to life imprisonment in August 2016. Armenia’s Court of Appeals upheld the guilty verdict in December. Last month the massacre convict was sent to Russia to serve his sentence there.