Helsinki Citizens' Assembly-Vanadzor

Effectiveness of the RA Special Investigation Service investigations into violations of the right to be free from ill-treatment according to the practice of HCA Vanadzor

November 29, 2021

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In the context of danger of democracy and principles of rule of law in the Republic of Armenia, HCA Vanadzor presents analysis of effectiveness of the response of state bodies[1] and investigation into cases based on legal support to persons  subjected to torture.

 

During 2016-2021, 43 persons applied to HCA Vanadzor, who were subjected to unlawful persecution, pressure, and torture by policemen of various police departments. In the frame of legal support, the Organization  made 43 crime reports to the RA Special Investigation Service. In the frame of  criminal cases initiated based on the submitted reports, 7 case proceedings were suspended in the RA Special Investigation Service based on the condition that the person to be involved as the accused was not known. Regarding 36 cases, decisions were made to discontinue criminal case proceedings or to refuse initiation of a criminal case. According to our studies, no official of the RA has so far (as of September 2021) been held liable under the Article of Torture.

 

No radical changes have been made in the state efforts in terms of the right to be free from torture also after the Revolution.  Moreover, it is clear that the investigative body investigating torture reports, i.e., the Special Investigation Service, is to stop operating. Thus, the independent investigative body dealing with torture reports will no longer function, which is an obvious degradation in terms of the obligations undertaken (the obligation that an institutional body should deal with these issues).

 

HCA Vanadzor continues to record that no proper fight is held against torture, officials who committed torture continue to remain unpunished. Since torture criminalization, i.e., since June 9, 2015, no guilty verdict has been made under features of Article 309.1 (Torture).

 

Thus, we record that as long as there is an atmosphere of widespread impunity in the frame of torture cases in the Republic of Armenia, violations of the absolute right to be free from torture, degrading and ill-treatment will persist. Existence of punitive mechanisms can be a deterrent for officials to respect human rights and freedoms and to eliminate impunity. 

 

Click HERE to read the full study.

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