The Armenian parliament unanimously passed on Tuesday a bill requiring the government to compensate the families of ten people killed in the 2008 post-election violence in Yerevan.
The bill drafted by two senior pro-government lawmakers also calls for compensations to be paid to dozens of other protesters and security personnel who were seriously injured at the time.
It makes clear, however, that police officers who are under investigation or have already been convicted of using excessive force against anti-government protesters will not be eligible for any aid. The amount and form of the compensation will be determined by the Armenian government.
According to official data provided by law-enforcement authorities, 63 protesters and police officers sustained “injuries of medium and severe gravity” during the forcible dispersal of opposition demonstrations held in the wake of the February 2008 presidential election.
Levon Ter-Petrosian, the main opposition presidential candidate, rejected as fraudulent official election results which give victory to Serzh Sarkisian, outgoing President Robert Kocharian’s preferred successor. Ter-Petrosian and his allies rallied supporters on a daily basis to demand a rerun of the vote.
Security forces broke up those protests on March 1-2, 2008. Eight protesters and two police servicemen died as a result.
The former Armenian authorities accused the Ter-Petrosian-led opposition of organizing the “mass disturbances” in a bid to seize power. They jailed dozens of opposition figures, including Nikol Pashinian, on corresponding charges denied by the latter.
Investigators radically changed the official version of events shortly after last year’s “velvet revolution” which brought Pashinian to power. They charged Kocharian and three retired army generals with illegally using the Armenian armed forces against the protesters and thus overthrowing the constitutional order in February-March 2008. All four men, who went on trial last month, deny the accusations.