On June 2, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan posted a photo on his Facebook page which showed that the employees of Vanadzor’s “Gloria” sewing factory did not keep their social distance on the bus. “Employees of Gloria Factory going home. Here is who and how provides record numbers for Armenia,” the photo caption on Nikol Pashinyan’s page read.
Later the Prime Minister appealed to users to send photos of people’s gatherings to his Facebook page, specifying the exact location and date of the violation, as well as individuals and legal entities related to it.
Many users responded to the Prime Minister’s call, some of whom sent a picture of the reception following the inauguration ceremony of the newly elected President of Artsakh Arayik Harutyunyan in Shushi on May 21, in which high-ranking officials of the Republics of Armenia and Artsakh were gathered around a table and celebrating the event.
On the morning of May 3, referring to that photo during his live broadcast titled “Searching for the Guilty”, the Prime Minister stated: “The [photo of] the inauguration of the President of Artsakh is constantly circulating and circulating. The inauguration took place within the framework of legal regulations established in Artsakh. Within the framework of legal regulations ․․․ No law has been violated in Artsakh, in Shushi. Only Azerbaijanis and certain circles are raising the alarm about the violation of the law.”
The Fact Investigation Platform decided to find out what legal regulations are in force in Artsakh, and whether that reception was not organized in violation of the law.
A state of emergency was declared in the Republic of Artsakh on April 12. According to Paragraph 2 of Decree N-2 of the Commandant of Artsakh of April 13, the organization, and holding of public (including festive) events with the participation of more than 20 people is prohibited.
In the photos of RA and Artsakh officials in Shushi, which were originally shared by Nikol Pashinyan’s wife, Anna Hakobyan, it is clearly visible that more than a hundred people took part in the reception.
Following the publication of the famous photo, the Office of the Artsakh Commandant referred to the allegations of violation of the law, stating that Decree No. 2 of the Commandant was not violated during the reception following the inauguration ceremony, as, according to the Office of the Commandant, “the inauguration ceremony of the President is an event envisaged by the Constitution with a clear date, and it cannot but be held.”
Meanwhile, Article 91 of the Constitution of Artsakh states that the office of the President of the Republic shall be assumed by law in a special session convened on the opening day of the first session of the National Assembly, with the following oath given to the people […]
In fact, in the clarification, the Artsakh Office of the Commandant refers to the inauguration ceremony of the President, while the photo was taken not during the inauguration of the President, but during the reception that followed it, which is not a requirement of the Constitution and, consequently, is not a mandatory event.
Thus, it should be noted that the reception following the inauguration ceremony of the President of Artsakh was held in violation of the Decree of the Commandant of the Republic of Artsakh, and Nikol Pashinyan’s assertion that the event was held within the framework of legal regulations does not correspond to reality.