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Families of March 1st Victims Request Meeting w/PACE Co-Rapporteurs

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  • Families of March 1st Victims Request Meeting w/PACE Co-Rapporteurs

    Families of March 1st Victims Request Meeting with PACE Co-Rapporteurs
    2010/02/27 | 18:06


    Dear members of the Permanent Monitoring Committee of PACE,

    In 2001, our country became amember of the Council of Europe. In 2002
    it joined the European Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental

    During all this time, PACE has adopted numerous resolutions on
    Armenia. However, they have not contributed to the improvement of
    effective human rights protection in the country.

    Moreover, those resolutions and PACE structures including the
    Monitoring Committee, have not essentially contributed to the
    development of newly established democratic institutions in Armenia
    and to democracy in general.

    Proof of the above are the fraudulent and falsified presidential
    elections of 2008 and the illegal engagement of the army for
    intimidating and controlling peaceful protesters. This resulted in the
    death of 10 people, numerous others being wounded, hundreds of
    political dissidents arrested and the detention several dozen others.

    After the tragic events of March 1-2, 2008, PACE has adopted 4
    resolutions, among which #1609 has probably been the most impartial in
    recording the existing situation, and which mentions compulsory steps
    for the Armenian authorities to implement.

    However, during these two years PACE and its Monitoring Committee in
    fact did not make any practical steps for bringing to the life
    resolution #1609, as well as the three following three following

    Nor did PACE rely to its authority and leverages of influence to
    contribute to comprehensive reveal and punishment of those guilty for
    March 1-2 events. Regrettably, PACE neglected publicly known facts. We
    are surprised and confused about application of double standards by

    We, the families of the victims of March 1-2, 2008 events, are
    indignant and protest the behavior of PACE Co-rapporteurs George
    Colombier and John Prescott. Particularly, it is unclear and
    unacceptable for us their announcement made on February 2, 2010 and
    posted on the official website of the CoE.

    What does it mean `The Armenian authorities need to implement the
    reforms recommended by the ad hoc Committee of the National Assembly
    of Armenia on the events of 1 and 2 March 2008, without further
    delay,'? Or what does it mean that `The reforms recommended by the ad
    hoc Committee, in combination with those contained in the relevant
    PACE resolutions, if implemented in good faith, could comprehensively
    address the circumstances that led to the events of 1 and 2 March
    2008,'? During these two years time, the justice system and
    authorities of Armenia have been unable to find murderers of our
    children, and now, should we wait for reforms ...?

    PACE officials, especially Mr. Prescott and Mr. Colombier, are well
    aware that the Armenian authorities are deliberately not revealing
    those responsible for tragic events of March 1-2, 2008.

    In the document prepared by co-rapporteurs (AS/Mon (2009) 38), article
    41, they are pointing out that there is an impression that Armenia's
    ad hoc parliamentary committee censors itself and tries by all means
    to avoid openly discrediting the official version of the authorities,
    which is regrettable and casts doubt over the whole investigation.

    Thus, Mr. Prescott and Mr. Colombier contradict themselves, on one
    hand by announcing that investigation of the ad hoc parliamentary
    committee has not been fair and the murders have not been revealed up
    to day, and on the other hand, by demanding a reform schedule from
    another parliamentary committee and the Chairman of the National
    Assembly and expecting that such a process can be successful.

    Judicial reform has been underway in Armenia since 1998. Overall,
    Armenian legislation is in line with CoE standards. In order to have
    the guilty for March 1-2 crimes revealed, elections not falsified,
    freedom of speech not limited and political dissents not persecuted,
    it is also necessary that high rank officials of PACE express timely,
    impartial and adequate assessments that Armenian authorities are
    failing to fulfill their
    obligations to the CoE.

    The crimes of March 1-2 happened not because of bad legislation or
    slow reforms, but among others, as a consequence of actual inaction of
    PACE and its `one step forward' assessments continuously given to
    incumbent authorities about their fulfillment of obligations to the

    Armenia's obligations towards the Council of Europe were last
    discussed at the summer session of 2009. Afterwards, due to inactivity
    and indifference of the co-rapporteurs, Armenian authorities started
    to claim publicly, that the March 1 page is closed...

    We have an impression that among those who back this statement aiming
    to cover murders of our children, are Mr. Prescott and Mr. Colombier,
    who did not participate in the December 17, 2008 Session of the
    Monitoring Committee and therefore, the document they had prepared was
    never presented and discussed at this session.

    Later, during discussions at the January 27-28, 2010 session of the
    Monitoring Committee, the February 2 statement appeared, regarding
    reform schedule and political prisoner Nikol Pashinyan.

    And where did demands to the Armenian government disappear? I.e. why
    is a proper investigation not carried out to reveal crimes of March
    1-2? Why haven't those guilty for illegally using armed forces for the
    oppression of the peaceful demonstration been punished? One of those
    killed, Tigran Abgaryan, was doing his military service.

    Why hasn't a comprehensive investigation to reveal how and with whose
    order had he appeared in the central streets of Yerevan been carried
    out - who ordered him, an ordinary soldier, to be transferred from
    his military unit to the centre of the capital?

    There are numerous video records of how Armenian armed forces were
    being transported to the central streets of Yerevan before March 1 and
    after the emergency situation.

    There is also the executive order of then president Robert Kocharyan
    concerning the emergency situation, where he mentions that the
    Ministry of Defense is among the implementers and servers of the
    emergency situation.

    `We have to use the opportunity of the army...' President Kocharyan said
    these words on March 1, 2008, during his midnight meeting with
    journalists... Isn't PACE interested in these facts? If so, why are the
    PACE Co-rapporteurs neglecting them?

    With the knowledge of PACE, the fact finding group was closed, while
    the latter put some light over true circumstances of March 1-2 murders
    and events.

    With the knowledge of PACE, the ARF representative Armen Roostamyan
    was involved in the Monitoring Committee as an opposition deputy,
    while his party, being part of the government, actually shares the
    responsibility for March 1-2 tragic events and for building an
    authoritarian regime in our country.

    During the last 10 years, the ARF has been part of the government and
    has supported former president Kocharyan. Only recently did this party
    claim itself an opposition and officially announced that they are
    withdrawing from the government coalition because of disagreement in
    foreign policy issues.

    We are aware that on March 12, 2010 during the meeting session of
    Permanent Committee in Paris the period of authorization of the
    Co-rapporteurs is going to be discussed. Thus, we urge you to include
    in your discussions the issues raised in this appeal.

    We want to believe that in its actions and assessments PACE will
    indeed be the conscience of democratic Europe.

    Dear members of PACE Monitoring Committee,

    Taking into account the above mentioned and wishing to present our
    demands and comments in more details, we would appreciate a meeting
    with co-rapporteurs for Armenia, George Colombier and John Prescott,
    during their next visit to Armenia.

    We believe that this meeting is absolutely necessary and we strongly
    insist on it. We assume, that at least in this issue, the Monitoring
    Committee should be interested as well.

    Families of victims of March 1-2, 2008 criminal events