Helsinki Citizens' Assembly-Vanadzor

ECHR obliges the RA to pay EUR 30,000 to each applicant in the case of Hovhannisyan and Karapetyan v Armenia

October 17, 2023

Activities | Legal Support | Legal Support | Right to life | European Court of Human Rights | Strategic Trials

The European Court of Human Rights obliges the Republic of Armenia to pay EUR 30,000 to M.Hovhannisyan and S.Karapetyan each for violation of their sons’ right to life.


Hovhannisyan’s son R. Hovhannisyan and Karapetyan’s son A. Sargsyan were drafted into the Armenian army in 2009 and 2008 respectively. They were both assigned to military unit no. 36534 of the Nagorno-Karabakh armed forces. On 28 July 2010,  Hovhannisyan, Sargsyan and four other servicemen were found killed.


When examining the scene of the incident, Kalashnikov hand-held gun was found, by which the servicemen had been killed. The gun was next to K.A.’s legs. Those interrogated stated that hours before the murder, Lieutenant Colonel V.P. had gone to post with Colonel S.G., where they had discovered the servicemen on duty at the observation post asleep. Private D.H. stated that he had heard how Lieutenant Colonel V.P. insulted and hit K.A. and his co-serviceman A.S.. D.H. then heard the sound of a rifle being loaded,  immediately followed by  a set of gunfire.


Investigation results state that On 28 July K.A. fired at his co-servicemen with the Kalashnikov hand‑held machine gun assigned to him, as a result of which 5 servicemen died instantly, after which he committed suicide. Forensic medical examination results indicate that all the servicemen had used a small amount of alcohol, while K.A. had been drunk.


Before being drafted to the army, back in 1992 K.A. had left for the United States, where he was convicted of numerous counts of burglary, car theft, possession of illegal firearms and drugs and escaping from a correctional facility. In 2009 K.A. was deported from the United States to the Republic of Armenia and drafted into the army.


On 28 July 2012 investigator M.B. decided to terminate the proceedings on the grounds that the persons who had committed offences, namely Private K.A. (murder of two or more persons) and Senior Lieutenant V.T. (aggravated abuse of authority), had died.


HCA Vanadzor, represented by its Chairperson human rights defender Artur Sakunts and advocate Arayik Zalyan, undertook to protect rights of Hovhannisyan and Karapetyan in domestic instances, and later in the European Court of Human Rights.


Today, on 17․10․2023, the ECHR published its judgment in favor of Hovhannisyan and Karapetyan. According to the judgment, Armenia has violated Article 2 of the Convention under its substantive and procedural limbs, and Article 13 of the Convention. The servicemen would not have been killed if  the command of the military unit had examined the circumstances of K.A.’s stay in the United States, the offences committed by him, his deportation from the United States and the circumstances of his conscription for military service,  the firearms had been unloaded and stored in accordance with the relevant procedure, non-statutory, street methods had not been used.


The ECHR judgment obliges the RA to pay  EUR 30,000 to M. Hovhannisyan and S.Karapetyan each for violation of their sons’ right to life. 

Click to read the full judgment.

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