Helsinki Citizens' Assembly-Vanadzor

Once again, we record that proper transparency regarding the provision of information on detailed conditions of fatalities in the armed forces is not ensured

March 7, 2019

Activities | Project։ Stability of HCA Vanadzor in the light of democracy and human rights challenges in the Republic of Armenia 2019 | Right to life | News | Closed and Semi-Closed Institutions | Civilian Oversight and Monitoring

On March 4, 2019, media published information on fatalities of 2019, stating that “in about 2 months, servicemen died in the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia and the Defense Army of the Republic of Artsakh and neither the Ministry of Defense nor the Defense Army reported about it”.


HCA Vanadzor finds it necessary to touch upon the statistical data regarding fatalities in the armed forces and the statement made by the Minister of Defense, according to which incidents can not be hidden, as well as the matters of alleged abuse of servicemen’s death cases by the RA Ministry of Defense spokesperson and later consideration of fatalities a manipulation by the RA Prosecutor General’s advisor.


The mentioned approach is not a new phenomenon and the Organization has been raising this issue for years on end, however, the only change in terms of this approach was the classification of fatalities as “those related to military service” and “those not related to military service”. Nevertheless, it should be mentioned that the classification itself is unclear and in its statistics regarding the fatalities, HCA Vanadzor does not distinguish death cases in the armed forces as those related and those not related to military service. The reason for this is that military service is performed in special conditions and the death case of a serviceman who died during or off the military service cannot be considered as not related to military service and serve as a ground for publicizing or not publicizing about it.  Moreover, in many death cases that Prosecutor General’s Office classified as not related to military service, the servicemen were considered to be on military service.


On February 28, 2018, the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Republic of Armenia gave a similar response, regarding which HCA Vanadzor again presented its position and clarifications.


HCA Vanadzor finds that in any case, the defense agency is obliged to inform about servicemen’s death cases that occurred during or off military service irrespective of the causes.


It is important to note that since 2016, HCA Vanadzor has been recorded death cases about which no official publication was made, particularly,


  • According to the preliminary data of the Organization, in 2016, 162 fatalities occurred in the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia and Defense Army of Nagorno-Karabakh. After publishing that information on January 16, 2017, the Organization had certain suspicions that more fatalities had occurred and conducted additional research, as a result of which it turned out that 13 more servicemen’s death cases had occurred, which neither official sources nor mass media presented.  
  • According to the preliminary data, in 2017, 59 death cases occurred. However, the Organization’s additional research found out 5 more servicemen’s death cases. Moreover, in their clarification, the Prosecutor General’s Office discovered 2 more servicemen’s death cases.
  • According to the preliminary data of the Organization, 47 death cases occurred in 2018. As a result of additional research, the Organization received information about 16 more servicemen’s death cases.


Thus, we record once again that proper transparency regarding the provision of information on detailed conditions of fatalities in the armed forces is not ensured. Regarding the servicemen’s right to life, the government of the Republic of Armenia is responsible for ensuring their safe dignified service, as well as for conducting comprehensive, effective and objective investigation into each death case.


We exhort the RA Ministry of Defense and RA Prosecutor General’s Office to publicize information regarding each death case in the armed forces, act within the logic of properly complying with their obligations, provide the public with precise information on the human rights state in the armed forces, conduct investigation into death cases and their causes and conditions, find those who are guilty and bring them to liability.

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