On March 4, 2019, tert.am 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,
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.