Dual Status of the Armenian Soldier
Before or after their military service the soldiers of RA were obliged to sign a standard document according to which they voluntarily serve in the army of Nagorno Karabakh. The situation was becoming more complicated, when any of the soldiers was brought before the court. Immediately a question was arising: according to the law of which country should the soldier be convicted: the law of RA or the law of Nagorno Karabakh? How legal is it that the criminal case against the citizen and soldier of RA is brought by the Prosecutor’s Office of another sovereign state and the court of that very sovereign state sentences the soldier to imprisonment. The most interesting fact was that the person convicted to imprisonment, due to unknown reasons, was serving his sentence in the Correctional Institute of RA.
It’s worth mentioning that that situation was favorable for the corrupted judicial systems of RA and Nagorno Karabakh. Judicial bodies of Nagorno Karabaikh didn’t accept any complaints of injured party or the accused person stating that latter ones didn’t have right to apply to them- to the judicial bodies of another state. And the court instances of Republic of Armenia, in reply to the complaints addressed to them, state that the President of RA, the Prosecutor’s Office or other relevant body can not intervene in the internal matters of another country, they have no right to give instructions to the judicial bodies of Nagorno Karabagh. This situation remained unchangeable till 1998. During that period of time the judicial bodies of RA and Nagorno Karabakh, non-officially cooperating with each other, were committing major illegalities. Helsinki Association has dozens of evidence that the Prosecution’s Office of Nagorno Karabakh was destroying the real forensic-medical, ballistic, finger print reports replacing them with false ones and putting them into the case file. In absence of control the investigators themselves often wrote reports instead of the above mentioned experts, or having assumed the functions of an expert, they came to the unreasoned conclusions. As a result, premeditated murders became manslaughter, suicides or killings caused by enemy-fire. In this sort of cases bribes were given from the murderers, and the criminal cases were discontinued because of the absence of corpus delicti.
Since 1998 the authorities of RA in order to improve the situation, made a concession: all the three garrison military prosecutor’s offices (Askeran, Martakert, Martuni) located in Nagorno Karabakh fell under the control of military prosecutor’s office of RA. Since that time the proceedings on military-criminal cases were conducted by the judicial bodies of RA according to the Criminal Code of RA. Nevertheless these amendments didn’t have essential progress in the “Gordian knot” of the judicial system. The situation becomes more complicated when the crimes take place in so called liberated and occupied areas, where neither the laws of RA nor those of Nagorno Karabakh are in fact observed.
In Nagorno Karabakh the real offenders were the officers, who are, as a rule, citizens of Nagorno Karabakh, who were convicted according to the Law of RA. Though the dual judicial system was replaced by the one-sided judicial system, however, the corruption level of the system didn’t decrease. Furthermore, it became a united, tight chain – military units, centers of experts, military police, court. Even today this chain works incessantly and can replace any premeditated murder with suicide or manslaughter. The supreme officer’s staff has its great role in this, which takes every step to show that offences are not committed in army. The most active one among them is the former minister of the army of Nagorno Karabakh Seyran Ohanyan, who submitted a petition to release from criminal liability or to administer light punishment for criminal officers. Among such cases, one can state the murder cases of Arayik Zalyan, Hovsep Mkrtumyan and Roman Eghiazaryan (well known “Mataghis case”), Arsen Simonyan, Andranik Silakyan etc. Unfortunately, that very Seyran Ohanyan did not submit a petition for punishment of criminals, who murdered the Armenian soldier.
Judging from the facts that we have at our disposal, the Armenian soldier till today serves in the army of Nagorno Karabagh with that dual status, which means that he is deprived of basic rights.
With this we start the series of articles on the laud illegalities taking place in the Armenian army, pursuing the aim to make the public aware of the real “amendments” in the armed forces of RA.