Helsinki Citizens' Assembly-Vanadzor

HCA Vanadzor lawyer petitioned to resume the suspended proceedings of a serviceman’s death case and conduct a number of investigative actions

February 3, 2020

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On January 30, 2020, Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly-Vanadzor lawyer Arayik Zalyan petitioned to resume serviceman Martin Khachatryan’s (dead in 2018) case proceedings and conduct a number of investigative actions.  


M. Khachatryan died on May 22, 2018, of a gunshot injury that he got on his abdomen in one of the combat positions of the RA Defense Ministry. On the same day, a criminal case was initiated by Article 110 (1) of the RA Criminal Code (inciting suicide) and on October 15, 2019, the criminal proceedings were suspended based on the condition that the person subject to being involved as the accused was unknown.  


HCA Vanadzor lawyer Arayik Zalyan undertook the protection of the rights of the victim’s legal successor. 


In the petition made to the RA Investigative Committee Military Investigative Department PIC investigator H. Avetisyan, A. Zalyan recorded that the preliminary investigation had been conducted improperly and there were contradictions (including betweent the decision to suspend the criminal case and the conclusions of the expertise conducted) and matters subject to clarification, for which it was necessary to resume the proceedings and take investigative actions to clarify them.  


There are also shortcomings in other examinations: the expertise of the material taken from the rifle trigger recorded that besides M. Khachatryan, there was also a second person. Nevertheless, the body conducting the proceedings did not try to find out who that second person was.  


Martin Khachatryan’s phone information was not properly examined, his phone calls were not decrypted, which could be essential for the case. The phone calls from persons serving in the same military unit and having the same legal status were not decrypted, either.


It is noteworthy that in the frame of the case qualified as suicide, no forensic psychological or forensic psychiatric expertise was conducted to find out his moral-psychological state. 


There are essential contradictions between the forensic medical expertise and the decision to suspend the criminal case. Though the expertise recorded that the gunshot could have been made from the distance of up to 25-30 cm, the body conducting the proceedings took a part of the expert conclusion as a basis and recorded that the gunshot was made with the gun placed on the victim. Whereas in case of taking as a basis the other possible distance, questions arise, in particular, how it could be possible to reach a hand on the rifle and at the same time hold the weapon at a distance of 25-30 cm. The criminal case data on the position of the weapon are also problematic. 


HCA Vanadzor lawyer A.Zalyan recorded in the petition that it was necessary to resume the case proceedings and take the necessary investigative actions to give exhaustive and substantiated answers to these questions. 


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