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On 12 September 2020, a decision was made in the 4th garrison investigative division of the RA Investigative Committee to discontinue the proceeding of the criminal case against conscript A.O. and cease the prosecution. HCA Vanadzor advocates S. Soghomonyan and then also Hayk Hakobyan had been implementing the protection of A.O.’s rights since 2018.
During 2017 summer call-up, when Yerevan resident A.O. appeared for the session of Central Medical Commission, he was given the diagnosis of “asthenoneurotic state of a hysterical person”. A.O. was granted the right to 6-month deferral. During the winter call-up of the same year, the Central medical commission recognized him fit for military service.
Disagreeing with the CMC’s decision, A.O. refused to be conscripted and as a result, in 2018, a criminal case was initiated against him and criminal prosecution was implemented. Signature on not leaving was used as a measure of restraint.
HCA Vanadzor advocate S. Soghomonyan addressed a letter to the RA former military commissar, asking to provide the copies of the health state and CMC decisions contained in A.O.’s personal case.
The relevant documents were provided in the established timeframe. The study of the documents makes it clear that during the call-up, among numerous medical examinations for physical health, A.O. also underwent an examination of his mental health. He was diagnosed with “accentuation of personality traits, hysterical type”. Only in March 2019 did he learn that he was registered in “Avan” mental health center. In a letter addressed to the Head of the Center, S. Soghomonyan requested information as to based on what examinations and diagnosis A.O. was registered in the Center. The Center informed that he was registered on 6 July 2017 based on his written application and he had been under their control since 29 March 2019. Extracts from Nork mental health center with the diagnosis of “neurasthenia of hysterical type” also served as a basis to register him in the center.
Let us note that in August 2018, the preliminary investigation body received the conclusion of the commission’s forensic medical expertise, according to which A.O. was diagnosed with heart-related problems, “...moderate neurocirculatory dystonia, heart rhythm disorders, mitral regurgitation of 0-1 degree. No pathology revealed in the nervous system”, and it was not possible to establish the time of their appearance. In October 2018, a double commission forensic medical expertise was appointed for the accused conscript.
In the frame of the initiated criminal case, in July 2019, in outpatient forensic psychiatric interdepartmental commission under the RA Ministry of Health, an outpatient forensic psychiatric expertise was assigned for A.O.. On 2 October 2019, A.O. underwent that expertise and never learnt about the conclusion. In October 2019, receiving the conclusion of the double commission forensic medical expertise, the body conducting the proceeding addressed questions to the Central Military Medical Commission. Based on the expertise conclusion, the latter found that A.O. was subject to the requirements of the RA Government’s decision N 404-N Article 28 clause “b” and “d” column 1, according to which, the conscript was recognized fit for military service with limitations. Taking into account the condition that heart rhythm disorder degree may change over time, which is significant in terms of military medical expertise, during 2017-2019 summer call-up, based on A.O.’s health state, it was not possible to make an opinion on his fitness for military service due to the lack of data from his examinations during the above-mentioned period.
On 21 February 2020, HCA Vanadzor addressed a letter to the head of the above-mentioned commission, trying to get information whether a forensic medical expertise conclusion had been made on A.O., and if so, whether and when it had been provided to the body conducting the proceeding. Had it not been prepared, what was the reason and in what timeframe it would be prepared. The commission clarified that the information of A.O.’s expertise was preliminary investigation secret and was not subject to be publicized without the permission of the body conducting the proceeding. With regard to the terms of implementing forensic psychiatric expertise, no legal act defined them at that point of time.
On 17 March 2020, the investigative division received the outpatient forensic psychiatric expertise commission’s conclusion. According to the conclusion, A.O. was diagnosed with a number of mental health-related issues. It was not possible to reveal it with one examination. Therefore, for the sake of differential diagnosis, there was a need for A.O.’s long-term examination. In two days, an inpatient forensic psychiatric expertise was appointed.
According to the results of inpatient forensic medical expertise received by the investigative division in July 2020, according to doctor experts, A.O. “has not suffered and is not suffering from a mental illness”, he was simply diagnosed with “moderately expressed neurasthenia of a hysterical type person”. In case of such a diagnosis, according to the requirements of column 1 of Article 7B of the RA Government’s decision 404-N, the conscript is recognized temporarily unfit for military service. According to the central military medical commission’s letter, it is not possible to answer the question whether A.O. was fit for military service with the mentioned diagnosis after winter 2017 and summer 2018 call-ups. In psychiatric military medical expertise, the degree of a conscript’s fitness is determined based on the data of medical documents present at the time of the expertise and objective examination. It was also mentioned in the letter of the central military medical commission that currently there was no appropriate scientific methodology to assess, in such cases, the disorder of neurotic level mental activity recorded and whether the degree of the latter was present during the above-mentioned period or not.
Taking into account that it was not possible to find out whether A.O. was fit for military service in winter 2017 call-up, the investigator recorded that there was no corpus delicti in A.O.’s action. Especially, given that all the opportunities to obtain new evidence have expired, and in a proper criminal procedural action, all the unresolved suspicions are interpreted in favor of the accused.
The investigator decided to discontinue the proceeding of the criminal case initiated against A.O. and cease criminal prosecution for avoiding winter 2017 call-up, and not to conduct criminal prosecution for further period of summer 2018 call-up until summer 2020 call-up based on the absence of corpus delicti. According to the decision, the measure of restraint (signature on not leaving) used against him was also eliminated.