Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian said on Wednesday that his government will help to ensure an objective and thorough investigation into the death of Georgi Kutoyan, a former head of Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS).
Pashinian also denied showing a lack of respect for Kutoyan and his family.
The 38-year-old Kutoyan, who ran the NSS during the final years of former President Serzh Sarkisian’s rule, was found shot to death on January 17 at a Yerevan apartment belonging to the family. Investigators suggested that he most probably committed suicide or was driven to it.
Pashinian called that the “main theory” of Kutoyan’s death investigated by law-enforcement bodies.
Speaking in the Armenian parliament, he also said: “I think that members of Mr. Kutoyan’s family must be interested the most in the full establishment of circumstances of the incident, and I think that they should fully cooperate with the investigating body so that the truth is established in full.”
“I have already said and will say again that I guarantee that the government will use its all possible levers so that this case as well as all other cases are solved in full,” he added during the government’s question-and-answer session in the National Assembly.
Sarkisian’s political allies and other critics of the Armenian government have accused it of not paying sufficient respects to Kutoyan. In particular, they have deplored Pashinian’s failure to directly offer condolences to the former NSS chief’s relatives.
Pashinian rejected these accusations. “In response to a question from media I expressed condolences to Kutoyan’s grieving family,” he said.
Pashinian also argued that the current leadership of the NSS as well as the secretary of his National Security Council attended a requiem service for Kutoyan and his funeral. The prime minister further noted that the NSS honor guard escorted Kutoyan’s body during the funeral.
“I believe that we properly did what had to be done,” he said.
Kutoyan was appointed as director of Armenia’s most powerful security agency in February 2016. Pashinian sacked him in May 2018 immediately after coming to power in the “Velvet Revolution” that toppled Sarkisian.