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HCA Vanadzor announcement regarding public discussions around death cases in the armed forces

January 13, 2020

Activities | Project։ Stability of HCA Vanadzor in the light of democracy and human rights challenges in the Republic of Armenia 2019 | Announcements | Publications | State Institutions | Closed and Semi-closed Institutions | Civilian Oversight and Monitoring

On January 10, 2020, Gor Abrahamyan, Advisor to the RA Prosecutor General, made a post in his Facebook account, “In 2019, death cases of servicemen in the Republic of Armenia and Republic of Artsakh Armed Forces decreased by 22%. During 2019, death cases of 49 servicemen were recorded in the Republic of Armenia Armed Forces and Republic of Artsakh Defense Army. 20 of the mentioned death cases were related to serving the military service, 29 of them occurred in conditions not related to the military service”.

 

Presenting observations, the Prosecutor’s Advisor mentioned, “Compared to last year, death cases in the Armed Forces have decreased by 14 or 22%. Death cases immediately related to military service have decreased sharply by 18 or 47%.

 

It is noteworthy that compared to 2018, during last year, servicemen’s death cases resulting from gunshots by the opposing side as a ceasefire violation decreased  almost twice (7-4), suicide cases or cases of inciting suicide related to military service decreased by 4 or by 36,4%. Death cases resulting from accidents and car crashes related to military service, as well as death cases resulting from breach of combat service rules also decreased.

 

Generally, during recent years, a steady tendency of significant decrease in servicemen’s death cases has been recorded in the Republic of Armenia and Republic of Artsakh Armed Forces: 76 cases were recorded in 2017, 63 cases were recorded in 2018, whereas 49 cases were recorded in 2019, which indicates that in 2019, as compared to 2017, death cases of servicemen decreased by 35,5%”.

 

HCA Vanadzor has been collecting statistical and descriptive data on death cases in the armed forces since 2010. Death cases in the armed forces are distinguished under two big subgroups, namely, death cases resulting from ceasefire violations and death cases that occurred in non combat conditions.  Irrespective of the condition whether the serviceman dies in the military service place or not, we consider it as a loss of the armed forces, since all the servicemen are included in the total number of the armed forces. Moreover, in cases where a serviceman dies as a result of a car crash or, as mentioned in some cases, as a result of suicide committed at home, we also consider them as a human loss of the armed forces, since only the preliminary investigation can give a final conclusion whether a death case outside the military service is related to military service conditions or not. 

 

Thus, the Organization counts death cases in the  armed forces based on the condition of being in the military service, and no reasoning is acceptable for not informing about death cases, which we have recorded many times. 

 

As it can be seen, no publication was made on at least 5 cases in 2019

 

With regard to the causes of death cases, we can state that in 2019, as compared to 2018, death cases in the Republic of Armenia and Republic of Artsakh armed forces decreased by 22%.

 

According to each cause, the image is as follows: death cases resulting from ceasefire violation decreased by 3 (43%), accidents decreased by 5 (29%), car crashes decreased by 2 (12%), suicides decreased by 1 (9%), the number of death cases resulting from intentional murders and breach of the rules of handling weapons remains unchanged.   

 

Observing the presented period of time, we can notice that the lowest number of death cases resulting from ceasefire violation was also recorded in 2013 / 5 death cases resulting from ceasefire violation, 8 suicide cases, 5 murders/, including death cases resulting from intentional murders and breach of the rules of handling weapons, 4 car crashes, 4 health problems, 1 mine explosion, 1 accident, 2 death cases in unknown circumstances. See cases of 2011 and 2014 in table 2/.

 

Taking into consideration RA Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s announcement regarding the “historical minimum” of death cases, we shall record that as compared to 2019, fewer death cases were also recorded in 2011, 2013, 2014.

 

Nevertheless, besides the statistical data, we also find it necessary to touch upon the changes made in the armed forces after the Velvet Revolution

 

Besides the publicly presented actions aimed at improving the quality of servicemen’s clothes and food, life sustenance and safety conditions at combat duty places, no steps were taken regarding any concept and strategy of rising the efficiency of civil oversight over the armed forces, reduction of corruption risks in the sphere of purchase, healthcare state, maintenance of statutory relationship, military discipline in the armed forces. Under these conditions, even the decrease in the number of death cases cannot be considered as an indicator equal to the solution of systemic problems recorded in the armed forces for years on end. Taking into account that even in 2013, the number of death cases (31 persons, 30 persons according to official data) was lowered to a historical minimum due to great administrative efforts, that fact was not a guarantee for not recording a further sharp rise of the number of death cases, which was connected with the absence of systemic changes in the armed forces and effective civil oversight over the armed forces. 

 

It should also be stated that effective investigation into the death cases in the armed forces is not ensured, either, and systemic approaches to the eradication of causes of death cases continue remaining unformulated and unimplemented. 

 

See causes of death cases according to years in the document enclosed. 

 

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