Helsinki Citizens' Assembly-Vanadzor

The situation of human rights in the RA Armed Forces

February 2, 2024

Activities | Rights | Project։ Protection of the rights of conscripts and servicemen | State Institutions | Civilian Oversight and Monitoring

Today, on February 2, HCAV-organized public discussion on the situation of human rights in the RA Armed Forces took place. The discussion speakers were 

 

  • Artur Sakunts, Chairperson of HCA Vanadzor
  • Nazeli Movsesyan, HCA Vanadzor human rights defender
  • Zhanna Aleksanyan, Chairperson of Journalists for Human Rights NGO
  • Karen Harutyunyan, Deputy Military Prosecutor of the RA

 

Zhanna Aleksanyan presented separate death cases in the Armed Forces:

 

Upon serviceman Zhora Karapetyan’s death, Journalists for Human Rights NGO visited Karapetyans’ family. The family considers that what happened to Zhora was an obvious murder. The serviceman’s death occurred as a result of two gunshots on his forehead. The family mentioned that Zhora had problems with his fellow serviceman Bakhshik Khachatryan  as he had fallen asleep on his duty. According to the family, Bashkhik decided to punish Zhora by telling him he had to be on duty every day instead of everyone, which deteriorated the conflict. Noteworthy, the commander of Zhora’s company ordered Zhora to go to the positions 4 days after Zhora’s 14-day-long duty. This information was also provided by Zhora’s relatives, noting that if he had slept, it was due to fatigue. Click for more details.

 

Before the unfortunate accident, Karen Danielyan, together with the senior of the position and two other fellow servicemen, went to up to the positions after the “alarm” order. According to his parents, they went up to the positions because they had information about a sabotage operation to be initiated by the enemy. In his father Vardan Danielyan’s words, the servicemen had a conflict at the military position. Click for more details.

 

 

 

Artur Sakunts presented the CoE CM key recommendations in Muradyan v Armenia case.

 

Concerns and problems submitted by the Organization regarding the RA authorities’ activities aimed at eliminating ill-treatment of servicemen in the Armed Forces and provision of psychological support to servicemen were reflected in the CoE CM decision of 07․12․2023, where the Committee recommended the RA authorities, inter alia, to do the following:

 

  • provide statistical data for the past five years regarding the investigation of non-combat deaths in the armed forces;
  • rapidly make progress in the establishment of an anonymous referral mechanism for reporting torture, inhuman or degrading treatment in the armed forces and to update the Committee in this regard, as well as report on the implementation of the relevant activities of the Human Rights Action Plan;
  • provide information on targeted measures to prevent hazing of servicemen as well as their bullying and ill-treatment by military hierarchy;։
  • since draft Suicide and Self-Harm Prevention Strategy is being prepared, inform the Committee about the actions envisaged in the Strategy, timing for its adoption and steps envisaged for its further implementation, as well as to provide information on the measures taken to ensure proper psychological assessment and assistance to military servicemen;
  • provide information on the steps taken to exclude conscription in view of significant health problems of service personnel.

 

Click to read about the CoE CM decision.

 

 

 

HCAV human rights defender Nazeli Movsisyan presented statistics of fatalities in the Armed Forces before and after the Velvet Revolution of 2018

 

* 418 servicemen’s death cases occurred in the Republic of Armenia and Republic of Nagorno-karabakh Armed Forces in 2012-2017 (death cases that occurred during the 4-day war of 2016 not included). Servicemen’s death cases in non-combat conditions (276 cases)  make up 66% of the total number of cases. 

* 436 servicemen died in the Republic of Armenia and Republic of Nagorno-karabakh Armed Forces in 2018 - 2023 (death cases that occurred during the 44-day war not included). Servicemen’s death cases that occurred in non-combat conditions in 2018-2023 make 81% of the total number of cases. 

The number of servicemen’s death cases increased by 4% from 2012 to 2018 and throughout 6 years after that, i.e., 2018-2023.

At the same time, the number of servicemen’s death cases in non-combat conditions increased by 29% and reached 355 (from 276).

As for cases of suicide and murder, these numbers are almost the same for the mentioned periods (102 cases in 2012-2017, 98 cases in 2018-2023).

Death cases caused by health problems increased by 67% and reached 97 from 58.

The number of death cases caused by car crashes increased by 8, almost three times (reaching 11 from 3).

In total, 854 servicemen’s death cases were recorded in 2012-2023. 

 

 

Deputy RA Military Prosecutor Karen Harutyunyan presented progress of criminal proceedings initiated on account of servicemen’s death cases and their effectiveness in terms of disclosing and preventing cases.

 

 

Each speech was followed by a constructive Q&A phase, during which a discussion was held on steps necessary to protect human rights and prevent their violations in the Armed Forces.

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