Helsinki Citizens' Assembly-Vanadzor

Statement on delegitimization of the Council of Elders in Alaverdi

December 5, 2023

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On 5 December 2023, Alaverdi community Council of Elders convened a session with the agenda of impeachment of the community head Arkadi Tamazyan. In response, Arkadi Tamazyan’s supporters organized a peaceful civil assembly near the municipality building at 8 o’clock on  December 5 - the day of the session - to prevent the impeachment process.

 

Over recent months, information has been circulating that attempts have been made to use various pressures to remove Alaverdi community head Arkadi Tamazyan. This was also declared by co-founder of the party “Country to live in”, political council member Mesrop Arakelyan and Armenian National Congress deputy president Levon Zurabyan during a joint press conference.

 

Though an extreme measure, impeachment of the community head by the Council of Elders is legal per se, however, it cannot occur through pressures, blackmail and impeding exercise of human rights. 

 

Study of activities aimed at impeachment of Alaverdi community head and available publications give us grounds to state that the RA state authorities and the ruling Civil Contract party have made persistent efforts to reach that dismissal through pressure and intimidation. In particular, 

 

  1. Pressure was used against the Council of Elders Civil Contract faction member Marianna Pepanyan, who was obliged to resign from her mandate, as she did not agree with the agenda of impeachment of Arkadi Tamazyan by the faction, stating that she did not see a grounded reason for that. There is also information regarding pressure against other members, however, they refused to meet or provide information to civil society members or publicly speak about it.

  2. Due to the use of violence, some of the Council of Elders members, including the acting community head, were blocked from entering the Council of Elders session on 5 December 2023. The Police tried to justify that restriction stating that activities were implemented to ensure safety of Civil Contract members of the Council of Elders.

  3. Law enforcement blocked community residents from entering the session hall and being present at the session during which the requirement of the Law on Local Government regarding session publicity was violated (see the above source).

  4. Instead of participating in the NA plenary session and performing his main obligations, NA Civil Contract faction deputy Aren Mkrtchyan participated and interfered in the said session in Alaverdi community, including by voicing insults to the acting community head

  5. According to the disseminated information, Civil Contract party members promised the Council of Elders member Simon Zakharov - who had left the faction “Country to live in” - to give him ”the position of Alaverdi MC director” in exchange for participating and voting.

  6. Council of Elders members who were in favor of impeachment appeared in the session hall with Police support. For that purpose, MIA rescue service representatives broke the closed door to the hall

 

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