Helsinki Citizens' Assembly-Vanadzor

The Court ruled a damning verdict judgment based on one testimony

April 18, 2019

Right to Freedom and Personal Inviolability | Right to a Fair Trial | Activities | Legal Support | Legal Support | Rights | Project։ Stability of HCA Vanadzor in the light of democracy and human rights challenges in the Republic of Armenia 2019 | Hovik Matinyan | Publications | News | Strategic Trials

Yesterday, on April 17, 2019, Lori region General Jurisdiction Court sentenced Hovik Matinyan (accused of robbery by one testimony) to 4 years of imprisonment and simultaneously released him from punishment under amnesty.


Earlier, on December 19, 2018, after refusing H. Matinyan’s defenders’ –lawyer Arshak Mkoyan and Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor lawyer Ani Chatinyan- petition to change the preventive measure for a few times, the Court replaced it with bail.  


Let us remind that in October 2017, H. Matinyan, who was hosted in Gyulagarak village from the RF, was accused of the robbery of gold jewelry worth 700,000 AMD  by A. Matinyan, another resident of the village. What is noteworthy is that he first described the person who made the robbery of the jewelry one way and then changed his testimony reasoning that he was confused on the day of the robbery.


Besides the victim’s testimony, there are no other facts proving Hovik Matinyan’s guilt in the criminal case. The defendant and his relatives claim that he is unjustly accused of the robbery.


Having undertaken H. Matinyan’s rights protection, for many times HCA Vanadzor touched upon the fact that the case was not proved and mentioned that accusing a person on the basis of one testimony contradicts to the precedent decisions of the RA Court of Cassation and European Court of Human Rights.  


During the previous court session, HCA Vanadzor lawyer Ani Chatinyan reaffirmed that claim and underscored in her protecting speech that the accusation was built only upon the vague testimony of the victim. Other witnesses’ testimonies stem from the victim’s testimony and do not prove Hovik Matinyan’s guilt in any way, but rather witness that a crime had taken place.


On the day of the crime, the victim himself described the perpetrator in a totally different way and only during the interrogation did he describe the one who committed the crime as someone very similar to Hovik Matinyan and ascribed the crime to him for unknown reasons. 


In the same logic, the face-to-face interrogation of the victim and H. Matinyan was of formal nature. The materials presented in the case as a “proof” do not have a proving meaning and do not prove Matinyan’s guilt in any way.


Yet, all this was placed in the basis of the accusation and assessed as a proof, which is impermissible.


The witnesses invited by the protecting party confirmed in their testimony that at the time when the crime was committed, Hovik Matinyan was asleep in the house of his mother’s brother. However, when making the judgment, the Court based only upon the proofs preliminary placed in the basis of the accusation and did not take into account those testimonies.


Thus, Lori region General Jurisdiction Court judge S. Baghdasaryan ruled a damning verdict on proofs that do not prove H. Matinyan’s guilt.


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