The response of the Special Investigation Service concerning the special public report of the Republic of Armenia Human Rights Defender

RA Special Investigation Service extremely highlights the activities regulated by the law, carried out by the Human Rights Defender with the purpose of quick and adequate response to the violations of human rights in the process of establishment of legitimacy in all aspects of public relations and thus preventing such in the future.

The criticalassumptions made in the reports, publications of the Human Rights Defender (including those addressed to RA Special Investigation Service) have been accepted and analysed at RA Special Investigation Service in terms of increasing the effectiveness of the future activities, with the consciousness that the aim of the Defender’s activities, opinions expressed by him, publicationsis the establishment of legitimacy, rule of law, an atmosphere of solidarity, mutual understanding and tolerance of different strata of society by impartial appraisals, as it is only in this case that it’s possible to provide guarantees for bringing to life the provision of the 3rd Article of RA Constitution “A human being is an ultimate value in the Republic of Armenia”.

Nevertheless, we are sorry that the Human Rights Defender’s special report published in regard to the events of July 2016, in terms of separate analyses, appraisals, to put it mildly is far from being considered impartial. In the report there are such opinions, assumptions, descriptions of factual circumstances, which are not only devoid of any grounds, not only imperfect and based on not comprehensive and impartial information, but often are mere suppositions, which is several times word for word indicated in the text of the report (pages 82, 83, 91, etc.).

To such complicated, dangerous events taken place in public life, as was the seizure of the PSS Regiment of RA Police by an armed group organized on July 17, 2016 and the taking of hostages from police officers, citizens, such as the murders committed after it, arsons of property, embezzlement of weapons and ammunition and amounts of money of especially large size, causing bodily injuries to numerous persons, violationsof public order and mass disorders for days in the territory adjacent to the regiment by incitement of the supporters of the gunmen and those assisting them, the Human Rights Defender has tried to give appraisals to the actions of the law-enforcement authorities directed to frustration of crimes and restoration of public order   mainly based on his observations and observations of his staff, as well as publications of mass media. In the case when in the same report the Defender himself, quite rightfully, doubted the objectivity and impartiality of these media.

The Defender has ignored the circumstance that the preliminary investigation carried out by the criminal cases examined at RA Special Investigation Service in regard to the above-mentioned incidents of crime, events and actions is not over; final legal appraisals to all the events mentioned in the report have not yet been given by analysis of the data acquired as a result of operative-intelligence, investigative and other procedural actions.

The subjective suppositions made in the special report in regard to the adequacy of the law-enforcement authorities’ actions during the mass disorders not only can disorientate the wide range of the public, but have a negative effect on the trust of separate sections of the society towards the legal appraisals subsequentlycarried out by the results of the preliminary investigation.

Even more inadmissible is the fact that in a number of cases even the appeals, videos and statements to gather at the scene, to commit violence published by the gunmen on mass media in a few hours after seizure of the PSS regiment have been ignored.As a result, pre-term assumptions on the peaceful purposes and character of the gathering of the first days, and therefore on the harsh response of the law-enforcement authorities being illegitimateare found in the Report.

Refraining from making/giving appraisals before the end of the preliminary investigation and publicizing information that is a preliminary investigation secretin this stage of investigation, however, we find necessary to recur to a number of observations present in the Report and referring to the activities of RA Special Investigation Service investigators.

Thus, the Human Rights Defender, recurring to the decisions of the authority carrying out the proceedings in regard to limitation of meetings, visits, telephone conversations of the relatives of the persons accused of commitment of the described crimes, has concluded that “there is a great risk of self-willed limitations, which …. can have a character of causing additional  hardships to the person deprived of freedom…”.

It should be noted that the decisions of the investigator to apply limitations were directed by the peculiarities of the criminal cases and were first of alltargeted to the prevention of new cases of possible violence. Moreover, the parties have appealed against the predominant part of these decisions at the prosecutor carrying out supervision, then at the First Instance Court and the Court of Appeal. Almost at all instances, the decisions of the investigator have been recognized grounded and legitimate. In this case the conclusions of the Human Rights Defender not only doubt the thoroughness of the decisions taken by the authority carrying out the proceedings, cast a shadow on the acts of the court – the only authority carrying out justice, but also negatively affect the public perception of the Report itself because of being baseless and sensual.

Moreover, the Human Rights Defender appears with a“legislative initiative” suggesting to  altogether deprive the authority carrying out investigation of the power of limitation of meeting of the detained or arrested with his/her family or close relatives. As a substantiation the following argument is given: “Practice shows that it leads to abuses…”.

Firstly, no one case of allegedly allowing an abuse is indicated in this respect in the whole report, secondly, this suggestion not only exceeds the subject framework of the special public report, but also the logic on providing other legal adequacy, legislative principles and effective investigation.

Recurring to the terms of the preliminary investigation by the criminal cases initiated in regard to the events, the fact of the investigation’s not being over the Human Rights Defender considers “inadmissible”, “… as it affects the trust towards the authorities carrying out investigation, as well as does not foster the future prevention of possible violations”.

More extraordinary is the fact that the Human Rights Defender, without having due information on the whole volumes of the preliminary investigation carried out by the criminal cases, the interrogations of several hundred witnesses, more than 245 casualties, 78 accused, the various investigative and other procedural actions referring to them, numerous expertizes, inspections, in essence, speaks of prolongation of terms of investigation.

In this respect the picture will be more expressive if we take into consideration that in  parallel to the above-mentioned criminal cases, numerous other criminal cases in regard to serious and particularly serious crimes, have been investigated in the proceedings of the 26 investigators of RA Special Investigation Service: only during the 2016, 757 criminal cases have been investigated in the proceedings of the few investigators of the Service.

Nonetheless, RA Special Investigation Service assures that in compliance with the requirements determined by legislation, in as short terms as possible, will finish the preliminary investigation carried out by all the criminal cases investigated in regard to the mentioned events, impartial legal appraisals will be given to the actions of those that have committed a crime independently of sensual, subjective appraisals given by different persons and institutions before and subsequently.

Օմբուդսմենը քննադատության է արժանանում Սարի թաղի ցույցերի վերաբերյալ իր խոսքերի համար