The ECHR Adopted a Decision on the Case Mkrtchyan v. Armenia

On May 7 of 2020, the European Court of Human Rights published the verdict on murder case of soldier Arayik Avetisyan.

The son of the Applicant Anahit Mkrtchyan, the 22 year-old soldier Arayik Avetisyan was killed on October 30 of 2001 as a result of getting a deadly injury on the head in the office room of the commander.

According to official version, there were four other soldiers with Arayik Avetisyan during his death and the fatal gunshot was caused by the fellow soldier as a result of the latter’s negligent attitude with the commander’s weapon. Although, the accused soldier completely accepted his guilt, as a result of the obtained contradictory facts, including also, based on the evidence of the witnesses and the contradictory conclusions issued by the experts, the domestic courts forwarded the case to a new examination for two times.

On February of 2010, as a result of the lack of evidence, the criminal prosecution against the accused was ceased and the proceeding of the criminal case was suspended.

The interests of Anahit Mkrtchyan were represented at the European Court of Human Rights by the advocates of “Protection of Rights without Borders” NGO.

The violation of Articles 2 and Article 13 respectively, protected by the Convention, was raised by the complaint-application filed to the European Court of Human Rights dated January 10 of 2011, since efficient investigation in regard to the death case of Arayik Avetisyan was not conducted by the domestic bodies, not being able to detect the essential circumstances of the death and the person who committed the crime.

By the verdict made on Anahit Mkrtchyan v. Armenia case, the European Court of Human Rights detected, that the Republic of Armenia violated the obligation to conduct effective investigation on the murder case of Arayik Avetisyan, particularly:

•    By the still ongoing investigation the weapon by which the murder was committed, as well as the reason of the injuries caused not by the weapon have not been detected.

•    The body in charge of conducting the proceeding, easily accepted and conducted an investigation only for one version, in case, when the witness presented an evidence completely denying the version and presenting information about another person, who allegedly committed the murder, but the investigation conducted in regard to the checking of the presented data was not proper. Moreover, the denial of the evidence presented by the same witness was easily accepted, without checking the possibilities of fear and pressure applied against the latter, even after the case, when the main suspect announced that he/she accepted the guilt taking into consideration the safety of their own family.

•     The Court recorded that for two times, the case was forwarded from the domestic courts to a new investigation, which clearly points out the serious gaps in the Republic of Armenia judiciary.   

The investigation of the criminal case in regard to the death of Arayik Avetisyan is still ongoing, but the proceeding of the case was suspended in March of 2019 for the second time on the ground of the alleged suspect involved in the criminal case being unanimous.

For the recorded violations, the European Court of Human Rights obliged the Republic of Armenia to pay a compensation for moral damage in the amount of 24000 Euros to the Applicant.