On December 2, a soldier of the 102nd Russian military base stationed in Gyumri brutally beat up a woman working in the Municipality’s Communal and Environmental Department in the district called Slabotka. The 57-year old woman died as a result of the injuries. However, the Russian serviceman was not arrested by Armenian law enforcement officers and is being kept in the 102nd military base in violation of a number of Armenian-Russian agreements.
A number of Armenian political parties, Prime Minister Pashinyan and the Russian Embassy in Yerevan commented on the incident.
On December 19, the RA Prosecutor’s Office finally responded to the raised concerns, claiming that the Russian soldier kept in the 102nd military base cannot be handed over to Armenian law enforcement authorities since it “contradicts the Russian legislation”.
Apparently, the prosecutor’s office means Article 61 of the Russian Constitution, according to which “A Russian citizen cannot be extradited from the Russian territory or surrendered to another state.”
In other words, the RA Prosecutor’s Office considers the territory of the 102nd military base in Gyumri as territory of the Russian Federation. Meanwhile, the Treaty on the Russian Military Base in the Republic of Armenia signed in 1995 and other subsequent agreements clearly stipulate that the 102nd military base is located in the territory of the Republic of Armenia, and there is no indication that the military base is a Russian territory.
That is to say, the Russian military serviceman accused of crime is not in Russia but in Armenia, so the ban of the Russian Constitution does not apply to him.
Russian legislation in the territory of the 102nd military base is valid to the extent fixed by interstate agreements. Article 4 of the 1997 Agreement on the Competence and Mutual Legal Assistance with Regard to the Russian Military Base on the Territory of the Republic of Armenia states that “Cases involving committing of crime by staff of the Russian military base in the territory of the Republic of Armenia are subject to investigation by the RA competent authorities based on the RA legislation.
Consequently, the Russian side has no right to impede the investigation of the case in Armenia, including through protecting the defendant.
It should be noted that a very similar situation was created in January 2015 when the failure to hand over Valery Parmyakov (the murderer of the Avetisyan family) to the Armenian side was justified by the Prosecutor General Gevorg Kostanyan, again citing the Russian Constitution.