Their protests were sparked by Pashinian’s remarks made on April 13 in response to continuing opposition criticism of his handling of the devastating war that left at least 3,825 Armenian soldiers dead.
“They say now, ‘Could they have averted the war?’” Pashinian told the parliament. “They could have averted the war, as a result of which we would have had the same situation, but of course without the casualties.”
The parents and other relatives of several dozen fallen soldiers say Pashinian thus publicly admitted deliberately sacrificing thousands of lives. They submitted a relevant “crime report” to Armenia’s Office of the Prosecutor-General on April 18.
The office instructed another law-enforcement agency, the Anti-Corruption Committee, to look into the report and decide whether it warrants a formal criminal investigation into the prime minister.
According to a spokesman for Prosecutor-General Artur Davtian, the committee delayed the decision until obtaining more “factual information and evidence” regarding the case.
“It’s a ploy for not addressing the issue anymore,” Ara Zohrabian, a lawyer representing the protesting families, said during their rally held outside Davtian’s office.
“Our most important demand -- namely, to charge Pashinian with mass murder and arrest him -- has not yet been fulfilled,” said Naira Melikian, whose son Hayk was killed during the six-week war stopped by a Russian-brokered ceasefire in November 2020.
Tigran Marukhian, the father of an officer who also died in action, said the grief-stricken families will continue to demand Pashinian’s prosecution.
“This wound will not heal,” he told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service. “But we will always cry out and say that all the guilty must be brought to account.”
Virtually all opposition groups hold Pashinian responsible for Armenia’s defeat in the war with Azerbaijan. For his part, Pashinian has put the blame on former Presidents Robert Kocharian and Serzh Sarkisian, who now lead two of those groups.
Kocharian ruled Armenia from 1998-2008, while Sarkisian, his successor, lost power more than two years before the outbreak of the hostilities.