Beaten,Burnt and Betrayed: Armenians awaiting accountability for police violenceSeptember 26, 2017 Report
This report summarizes the findings of a monitoring mission to Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, organized by International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR) within the framework of the Civic Solidarity Platform (CSP) on 28 July to 1 August 2016. The CSP monitors studied allegations of the use of disproportionate and excessive force in relation to predominantly peaceful demonstrations; arbitrary detentions; abusive treatment of demonstrators and journalists and other human rights violations in connection with demonstrations that took place in Yerevan from 17 July to 30 July 2016. The team of monitors recorded testimony from 42 victims and witnesses. IPHR and the CSP monitors take no position on the demands of the demonstrators or the means used by opposition groups to achieve their political aims. The sole purpose of this report is to analyze whether human rights violations took place in connection with the demonstrations, and the nature of any violations found to have been committed.
The protests in Yerevan spiked after a group of armed men belonging to the opposition group “Sasna Tsrer” (“Daredevils of Sassoon”) seized Police Patrol Service (PPS) station located in Erebuni, a southern Yerevan district on 17 July 2016, killing police Colonel Artur Vanoyan, wounding and taking hostage several other police officers.1 The group was demanding the release of their imprisoned leader of the Founding Parliament2 Jirair Sefilian, the resignation of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, and the so-called “restoration of the Republic”. In recent years members of the group “Sasna Tsrer” being also aligned with the political movement Pre-Parliament and partially comprised of veterans of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabagh, has repeatedly claimed that the elections in Armenia have been deeply flawed, thus questioning the legitimacy of those in power. It has also accused the political elite of being tainted by widespread corruption.
Shortly after of the gunmen seized Erebuni District Police Station demonstrators began gathering on Azatutyun Square in central Yerevan and near the occupied police station on Khorenatsi Street to show solidarity with the gunmen. They did not represent a unified movement, but were led by various civic groups such as the Heritage Party and the Founding Parliament movement as well as civic leaders who had become popular during the Electric Yerevan protests in 2015. Although the police did not disperse the gatherings, they detained dozens of protesters. Despite this, the number of demonstrators continued to grow over the days that followed.
On 20 July 2016 the Armenian Special Investigation Service opened an investigation into allegations of excessive use of force by police. At the time of writing, disciplinary sanctions have been taken in relation to the Head of Yerevan City police and two heads of district police departments. In light of the failure of the Armenian authorities to bring any suspects to justice following the excessive use of force by police at the Electric Yerevan protests in June 20153 , the CSP delegation is seriously concerned that those responsible for the use of excessive force in these recent demonstrations a year later may also escape justice. There were also grounds to conclude that police officers specifically targeted the main leaders of the predominantly peaceful July 2016 protests, detained and charged them with “organizing mass disorders”, in order to weaken and, ultimately, put an end to the protests.
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Approaches of “Partnership for Open Society” Initiative Regarding COMPREHENSIVE AND EXTENDED PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT To Be Signed between the European Union and the Republic of ArmeniaOctober 20, 2017
Based on both positive and negative experience of the civil society in establishing cooperation with international and national state institutes, its success and failures, “Partnership for Open Society” Initiative expects that the Civil Society Platform will not have a merely formal nature, but a real and substantial participation in the process of implementation of the Agreement.
EaP CSF Armenian National Platform STATEMENT On the Publication of the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement between the Republic of Armenia and the European UnionOctober 18, 2017
Armenian National Platform of the EaP Civil Society Forum welcomes the publication of the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement between the Republic of Armenia and the European Union, submitted to the Council of the European Union for a decision.
If Arkadi Kochinyan is killed or commits a suicide or self-injury or if any such attempts are committed, the full responsibility will be borne by the RA Ministry of Justice, RA MoJ Penitentiary Department and administration of ‘Nubarashen’ penitentiary facilities.
EaP CSF Armenian National Platform Statement On the current state of the local self-government system of the Republic of Armenia and the ongoing reformsOctober 15, 2017
As a result periodic analyses are made and are presented to the RA relevant authorities, as well as are publicized through the media. One of these analyses was presented on September 11, 2017 at the conference of the EaP CSF Armenian National Platform on “Civil society engagement in the administrative-territorial reforms in Armenia”.
The court examined and rejected the motion filed by Ani Chatinyan, lawyer at HCA Vanadzor, at the previous hearing to discontinue the proceedings and apply to the RA Constitutional Court. The Court supported its rejection by the fact that the plaintiffs were not deprived of the opportunity to apply to the Constitutional Court.
Police officials visited a person in detention facilities and urged him to assume responsibility for 3 theft casesOctober 14, 2017
By deciding to suspend the criminal proceedings, investigator for high-profile cases S. Avetisyan bypassed the fact of abuse of power by the investigator in charge of the proceedings and the police officials. Also, the impact of the police actions on A. H. was not examined, especially given that during the questioning he noted that his fear of police officers deepened after the incident.
RA Police does not consider expedient analyzing application of ‘Guideline for Police Actions during Elections’October 12, 2017
Anyway, we believe that the RA Police will definitely address the issues raised by us and we are ready as on the day before the NA elections to take part in assessing the application of the Guidelines.
Information on the course of preliminary investigation into criminal proceedings initiated on interfering with ‘Lori’ TV editor-in-chief Narine Avetisyan’s professional journalistic activitiesOctober 11, 2017
Within the preliminary investigation into the criminal case, the investigating body decided to assign a forensic medical examination and a forensic computer and technical expert examination.
At the end of the visit Mr. Dainius Pūras shared his preliminary observations on the healthcare system in RA. He stated that there are good opportunities to achieve the progressive realization of the right to health in Armenia but public authorities should step up efforts to address structural and systemic challenges, both in law and practice, in order to fulfill its obligations under international law to promote and protect human rights.
Questioned police officer insists that he personally demanded that protestor V. Petrosyan left the traffic section of the streetOctober 10, 2017
On October 6, 2017 the RA Administrative Court questioned the police officers involved as witnesses in protestor Vahram Petrosyan’s case.
Persons with mental health problems are “imprisoned” at psychiatric hospitals and care facilities and lose their opportunity of self-realization and their own self. This is caused by both the current stigma and stereotypes, and the lack of necessary psychosocial support services and insufficient legislative regulations.