Analitik.am website published a three-part series of video report, titled “Tracing the Facts. March 1, 2008. Who has violated the RA constitutional order?”. These materials present a different perspective on March 1 events, which, according to the author of the series, has been left out from the public eye.
Many of the facts presented here, however, are distorted. We will refer to some of them.
The video titled “March 1, 2008. Who has violated the RA constitutional order? Part 3″ argues that there are no facts that the elections were rigged. Meanwhile, the OSCE / ODIHR in its final report on the 2008 presidential elections mentioned the following: “Although the 2008 presidential election largely complied with the OSCE commitments and international standards, during the pre-election and voting period, serious challenges have come forward in relation to certain commitments, particularly after the election day: it showed insufficient respect for the basic criteria for democratic elections and depreciated the whole electoral process. Particularly in the process of counting votes, there were flaws in transparency and accountability, and the appeal procedures were not entirely effective.”
The mentioned video materials present rallies organized by Levon Ter-Petrosyan as unauthorized and an illegal attempt of seizure of power, which can be viewed as a crime. However, it should be noted that, in accordance with Article 44 of the Constitution, everyone has the right to freely organize and participate in gatherings without weapons. Consequently, rallies and sit-ins that took place after February 19 should be regarded as expressing the right of people to organize gatherings.
The above-mentioned video also speaks about the involvement of the army in political processes. The fact that the Armed Forces were involved in the political processes has been proven by both the Acting Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan and the Head of the Special Investigation Service Sasun Khachatryan. A report by Analitik.am presents a fragment of Ter-Petrosyan’s rally, in which he says he met Deputy Defense Minister Manvel Grigoryan and Gagik Melkonyan. It is noted that they are negotiating on behalf of the people with Colonel-General Seyran Ohanyan, Head of the General Staff of the Army. All this is presented as an attempt by the opposition to involve the army in the political processes.
However, the continuation of the video footage is missing, where Ter-Petrosyan says, that during the meeting the Deputy Defense Ministers stated that they would not allow the army to interfere in politics and would not use force against their own people.
Additionally, the Fact Investigation Platform has already touched upon the announcements of the army involvement. At that time Robert Kocharyan’s attorneys put forward this thesis, noting that Deputy Defense Ministers Manvel Grigoryan and Gagik Melkonyan had been involved in political processes being forced by the opposition. Referring to the legal aspect of this issue, we have noted, that the Defense Minister and Deputy Ministers Carry Out Civil Control in the Army and the control of the Armed Forces is within the scope of the authority of the Chief of Staff (RA Law on Defense, Article 12). Therefore, the support of deputy ministers does not mean that the army has been involved in political events.
Now we will refer to other problematic parts of the video report.
According to Analitik.am video, there was no clash between the army and protesters, there are no facts that the army used firearms, therefore, in fact the army was not involved in the clashes between demonstrators and the police.
In contrast to this statement, let us quote the announcement about army involvement made by the head of SIS , which states, that the army opened fire on people and apartments. “We have concrete evidence that the servicemen of the Armenian Armed Forces opened fire on the buildings on Leo Street…” particularly stated Sasun Khachatryan. He also added that oligarchs gave money to army service members, so that the later would protect them (EN: the oligarchs), their possessions and political ambitions. The residents of Leo Street also mention that there was shooting in the direction of the buildings.
The provisions of the military doctrine are also speculated in the publication, according to which the Armed Forces ensures the security and defense of Armenia, and the security involves timely disclosure, suspension and neutralization of predicted hazards. According to the video, de jure army could be involved in political processes to ensure internal security and public order. However, it should be noted again that the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia excludes involvement of the army in political processes (Article 14); and the Constitution has a supreme legal force, and all laws and legal acts are inferior to the mother law.
Thus, the thesis that all legal grounds were present to involve the army in political processes does not correspond to the reality.