To: Secretary General of the Council of Europe
President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe
Members of the Bureau, Standing and Monitoring Committees of the PACE
CoE High Commissioner for Human Rights
The “Helsinki Association” would like once again to draw your attention to the urgent problems that continue to influence negatively the overall Human Rights situation in Armenia.
After 2008 Presidential elections and the shooting of peaceful demonstrators it the most urgent demands of the entire International Community, reflected particularly in the relevant PACE resolutions, was the credible, independent investigation on the exact circumstances that led to the said events of 1 March, including the killing of 10 persons, and the demand to release the persons detained on artificial and politically motivated charges
The “Helsinki Association” testifies that after two and half years of promises and different kinds of imitations of the willingness to investigate the exact circumstances of the said events and thus to restore justice, no tangible progress has been achieved in holding to account those who are responsible particularly for the murder of those ten innocent victims, no actual perpetrators of the crime were held to account. Furthermore, the Armenian authorities are repeatedly rejecting the demands of the legal successors of 10 victims to investigate and reveal the killers of their relatives, a number of political prisoners remain in jails and the repressions of political opposition are still going on. The situation and conditions for the prisoners in the penitentiaries while not corresponding to any European standards remain the same. Tortures in police stations and in the army lead to death cases and are not discovered which has become a norm. The courts, implementing the orders of prosecution and authorities don’t carry out justice.
The “Helsinki Association” emphasizes that unpunished violations stimulate the sense of impunity and contribute to their recurrence and believes that the restoration of the rule of law and the protection of human rights anywhere, including Armenia are impossible without the disclosure of the real facts relating to Human Rights violations and without the punishment of those guilty in that violations.
In the view of the above-mentioned the “Helsinki Association” demands that the PACE Monitoring Committee’s co-reporters in regard of Armenia visit Yerevan as soon as possible and explore thoroughly the compliance of Armenia with its Council of Europe obligations. This is a necessary and well delayed step that would enable the Assembly to include the issue of the functioning of democratic institutions in Armenia on its next session Agenda and will remind to Armenian authorities the seriousness of Monitoring procedure.
On 28 May an activist of youth oppositional movement “Hima” (Now) and “Sksela” (It Has Started) Arsen Kharatyan was brutally beaten in Yerevan. The Armenian authorities which are reluctant to investigate the offences occurred during the presidential election and dispersal of peaceful demonstrations, commit new outrages and pursue a policy of the dictate of force.
The demands of the international community to carry out democratic changes in the country and to conduct an impartial investigation into the crimes as provided for in the PACE Resolution 1609 are neglected. Ordered trials into the cases of representatives of the opposition and made-up and unproven charges brought against them are still underway. Harassment of the General Prosecution directed against the Ombudsman of Armenina A. Harutyunyan is nothing but a pressure on any manifestation of dissent opinion. There is no place in the civilized world for a country which has more than a hundred of political prisoners.
Once more does the Helsinki Association apply to the world community with a necessity to exert pressure on the authorities of Armenia in order for the latter to conduct immediate democratic changes and live up to all obligations taken before the world community.
Helsinki Association, having observed the 19 February 2008 presidential elections in Armenia and following closely the post-election period, states that the past elections did not correspond to democratic standards.
Ballot-stuffing, intimidation of voters, assaults on media representatives, the presence of local “criminals” at polling-stations as members of commissions, proxies or observers, vote-count fraud could not but affect the election returns. All this reasonably prompted counteraction on part of the opposition which took the form of peaceful demonstrations.
In the early morning of 1 March, upon an order of R. Kocharyan, a special police operation was carried out aimed solely at dispersal by force of a peaceful assembly of the opposition on Liberty Square. Later in the day the opposition rallied for a peaceful action of protest at Myasnikya monument, but once again the crowd was dispersed with an excessive force resulting in casualties.
Helsinki Association states with full responsibility that the Armenian authorities bear the whole blame for what happened.
Helsinki Association finds it as its duty to appeal to international organizations with the following requests:
• Not to recognize the results of the 19 February 2008 presidential elections; • To demand that the President of Armenia, Robert Kocharyan, immediately cancel the emergency rule in Yerevan declared on 1 March 2008; • To demand that all political prisoners currently in jail in Armenia be released; • To demand that the Armenian authorities conduct an impartial and full investigation with an involvement of international experts into the use of excessive force against the protesters resulting in casualties. • To suspend both the membership of Armenia in international organizations including the Council of Europe and all economic and financial aid programs for Armenia, until it fully observes the undertaken international democratic and human rights standards.
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