Davtian’s office reported that he has filed a corresponding appeal to Justice Minister Karen Andreasian, who heads a government task force on constitutional reform.
According to the office, Davtian cited in his letter the increased number of espionage cases investigated by Armenian law-enforcement authorities since the 2020 war with Azerbaijan. He said punishment for such crimes should be toughened “especially against the background of existing security challenges in the region.”
Dozens of Armenians, including military officers, have been arrested and/or accused of spying for Azerbaijan during and after the war. None of them is known to have been convicted by local courts so far.
Armenia agreed to abolish capital punishment when it joined the Council of Europe over two decades ago. The ban is enshrined in Article 24 of its constitution.
Citing research conducted by his office, Davtian claimed that Armenia has no “direct international legal obligation” to maintain the full ban on the death penalty. He also said various “manifestations of high treason” pose a growing threat to national security.
Representatives and political allies of the Armenian government did not immediately react to the appeal.
By contrast, the country’s human rights ombudswoman, Kristine Grigorian, was quick to reject Davtian’s calls, saying that they run counter to people’s right to life and “democratic values.” Armenian authorities should deal with high treason through “more effective preventive measures” rather than death sentences, she said in a statement.
Grigorian said that the constitutional reform council, of which she too is a member, should therefore not even consider the chief prosecutor’s proposal.
The Office of the Prosecutor-General deplored the ombudswoman’s “extremely hasty” and “superficial” comments. It said that it is ready to present more detailed arguments in support of the idea floated by Davtian.
Davtian will complete his six-year term in office on September 15. He will be replaced by a former aide to Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian.