Helsinki Citizens' Assembly-Vanadzor

327 murder cases registered over the past 20 years remain undisclosed: why transitional justice is necessary

July 29, 2019

Activities | Project։ Stability of HCA Vanadzor in the light of democracy and human rights challenges in the Republic of Armenia 2019 | Publications | News | Civilian Oversight and Monitoring

327 murder cases registered over the past 20 years still remain undisclosed. This information is given in the RA Police Information Center note dated June 24, 2019.


In 2017 and 2019, Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor sent the RA Police Information Center an inquiry pertaining to the suspended criminal cases that had been initiated on Article 104 of the RA Criminal Code. As to the first inquiry, we received information pertaining to 1992-2019 time period, and for the second inquiry, the information provided pertained to 1998-2018 time period.  


It is noteworthy that information on 1998-2016 differs as received in 2017 and 2019 and while in 2019 a small number was submitted for certain years, the situation for 2016 is the reverse: according to the information received in 2017, 9 murder cases registered in 2016 remained undisclosed, whereas in 2019, information on 18 undisclosed murder cases was given.  


The greatest number of undisclosed murder cases was recorded in 1992 with 166 cases. 



We have no information with respect to the circumstances and causes under which these murders were committed and on what grounds they were suspended. 


Neither do we have information whether the state conducted a proper investigation into the murders or not. And as long as those murder cases remain undisclosed, those persons’ and their relatives’ rights continue remaining violated and the state continues not fulfilling its obligations. 


It has recently become known that a case on a murder committed 25 years ago was reopened based on a newly revealed condition. Are there not other cases of this nature?  


One thing is clear: such a big number of undisclosed murders entails impunity and non-restoration of violated human rights. 


In the context of transitional justice suggested by civil society, these matters should also be subjects of discussion. 


In the guideline on eradicating impunity for serious human rights violations, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe touches upon this matter and mentions that impunity may entail repetition of crimes. 


In this context, Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe considers gross violations of human rights the violations of the right to life, the right to be free from torture, the right to freedom of slavery and forced labor, the right to liberty and security, the right to respect to private and family life and recommends mechanisms of preventing impunity with regard to the violation of these rights.  


The eradication of impunity for serious violations of human rights was also touched upon by the UN General Assembly in its resolution adopted on December 16, 2005.


The RA Criminal Code was amended by the article prohibiting torture in 2015, however, no conviction by this Article has been recorded so far. 


As long as the state does not provide credible information on the efforts made to disclose these crimes and as long as these crimes remain undisclosed, the rights of the victims’ family members also continue to remain violated. 


In the absence of statistics on the cases of degrading treatment and cases of violence, the institute of transitional justice could also allow for the completion of the picture of such cases.


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