The ruling Civil Contract party’s parliamentary group initiated earlier this month the establishment of an ad hoc commission that will examine the causes of Armenia’s defeat in the war, assess the Armenian government’s and military’s actions and look into what had been done for national defense before the hostilities.
The parliamentary majority appointed seven of the eleven members of the commission. It offered the opposition Hayastan and Pativ Unem alliances to name the four other members.
Both alliances officially rejected the offer, saying that the commission will be controlled by pro-government lawmakers and therefore cannot be objective. The commission held its first meeting last week despite the opposition boycott.
A senior lawmaker from Hayastan, Artsvik Minasian, said on Monday that his bloc has drafted legislation paving the way for the creation of an alternative commission that would consist of nine members who are not lawmakers and not affiliated with any party.
Under the Hayastan bill, Civil Contract and the opposition minority in the National Assembly would each appoint four members of the proposed body. The remaining member would be handpicked by Armenia’s human rights ombudswoman, Kristine Grigorian.
“If we want an impartial inquiry and revelation [of the truth,] the model proposed by us is one of the best ones,” said Minasian. He claimed that its rejection by Civil Contract would be a further indication that the authorities are not interested in answering lingering questions about the disastrous war.
Armen Khachatrian, a senior pro-government lawmaker, dismissed the Hayastan initiative as “not serious and not appropriate.” He said that the commission set up by the ruling party is objective enough.
Virtually all opposition groups hold Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian responsible for the outcome of the six-week war that left at least 3,800 Armenian soldiers dead.
For his part, Pashinian has blamed former Presidents Robert Kocharian and Serzh Sarkisian, who lead Hayastan and Pativ Unem respectively, for the defeat. Kocharian ruled Armenia from 1998-2008, while Sarkisian, his successor, lost power more than two years before the outbreak of the fighting.