Helsinki Citizens' Assembly-Vanadzor

The Prosecutor General’s Office to examine application against the Russian military base

December 12, 2023

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The Prosecutor General’s Office has started processing the application filed by Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly-Vanadzor, whereby the human rights organization raised concerns over illegality of Russian 102nd military base.


“It is an unprecedented crime, as a person has been abducted in the daytime, deprived of his liberty, and held deprived of his liberty for 5 days on end by violation of law and by persons who do not have such powers”, advocate Ani Chatinyan says.


It is yet unclear whether the Prosecutor General’s Office will initiate a criminal case to find out why the Russian military base servicemen arrested - on the street - the Russian citizen residing in Gyumri. Currently the law enforcement  is dealing with technical issues related to the application. A decision on investigation shall be made only after that.


Last week Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly-Vanadzor raised concerns over the arrest of Russian citizen Dmitry Setrakov, who had refused to wage war against Ukraine and relocated to Gyumri. Setrakov was arrested by the Military Police officers and taken to the military base territory. This happened despite the fact that this function can be performed exclusively by Armenian law enforcement in Armenia based on an application by the Russian side.


According to Armenian law enforcement, Setrakov was a contractual serviceman in Russia, however, he refused to continue his service after Russia invaded Ukraine, and relocated to Armenia. He is currently charged with voluntarily deserting the military unit. 


The human rights organization applied to the ECHR


Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly-Vanadzor advocate Ani Chatinyan says they have applied to the European Court of Human Rights(ECHR) today and informed the Court that the citizen of Russian Federation has been illegally deprived of liberty for 5 days and held in the military base, which is not a place of detention in Armenia, and that, ultimately, there is a risk of extradition.

Therefore, the Organization asked the Court of Strasbourg to  apply an interim measure and oblige Armenia not to extradite Setrakov to Russia.


“We requested to prevent potential extradition, and hand the citizen to the oversight of the Republic of Armenia authorities, in particular, law enforcement, since in both cases there is a real high risk that the person could be subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment”, the advocate said.


Head of the Union of Informed Citizen Daniel Ioannisyan, in his turn, invokes the agreement signed between Russia and Armenia back in 1997, which regulates activity of the Russian military base in Armenia. Accordingly, the military base can detain only its servicemen, with certain exceptions. However, Setrakov is not a serviceman of the military base.


“Article 5 of the agreement I invoked specifies that crimes committed by the military base servicemen fall within jurisdiction of the Russian Federation in some, but not all cases. And they fall within the jurisdiction of Armenia in all the other cases, and this case is not related to their jurisdiction at all”, Ioannisyan stressed.


For a few days now “Azatutyun” has not been able to get observations from the Russian 102nd military base regarding what happened. Five years ago, when military policemen were deployed in the Russian military base, the Russian side assured that it only aimed to observe internal discipline inside military units. Human rights activists stress that they must not arrest and hold anyone liable on the territory of Armenia.

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