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Special Investigation Service of Republic of Armenia
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New disclosures on the case of March 1
2018-07-03

On July 3, 2018 the head of investigation team conducting preliminary investigation on the criminal case with regard to the incidents taken place in Yerevan city between March 1 and 2, 2008 instituted criminal case under part 1 of article 300.1 of the RA Criminal Code, for violent pulling down the constitutional procedure of the Republic of Armenia in between the period of February 23, 2008 till March 2, of the same year by the Minister of Defence, the official of the executive body of the Republic of Armenia, and other persons. 

The criminal case was combined with the criminal case investigated with regard to the incidents taken place on March 1 and 2, 2008.

On the basis of  sufficient combination of proof obtained during the preliminary investigation, on July 3, 2018 decision was made to attract Mikayel Harutyunyan, ex-minister of defence of the Republic of Armenia, General – Colonel, as accused under part 1 of article 300.1 of the RA Criminal Code, for coming to preliminary agreement with other persons he pulled down the constitutional procedure.

Thus, it was found that during preparation and passing the elections of the President of the Republic of Armenia on February 19, 2008 such violations of electoral right have taken place, which according to a large segment of society violated the key principles of the electoral right, stipulated by article 4 of the RA Constitution applicable as at that time, which resulted in loss of the people's opportunity to effect the governance through free elections.  

The large volume violations during the elections, attributed by the public organizations, different law enforcement structures and citizens to the  followers of operating President Robert Kocharyan and the operating Prime Minister, President nominee Serzh Sargsyan, caused anger of a large part of public, which started February 20, 2008 organized in Yerevan Freedom Square public peaceful events, marches, all day and night meetings of a great number of citizens, supporting other President nominees.

Discontent at the large segment of the society and involving new mass in the peaceful meetings caused serious concern to the operating government. When following announcement of the police on holding allegedly illegal meetings it was impossible to prevent the all day and night peaceful meetings, a number of high ranking officials of the operating government, among which the Minister of defence of RA Mikayel Harutyunyan, performed actions directed to pulling down the constitutional procedure of RA, particularly, actually violating the norms stipulated in articles 1-5 and part 1 of article 6 of the Constitution, and terminating their operation in the legal system during the said period.

Thus, Mikayel Harutyunyan, the RA Minister of Defence and other officials violated article 8.2 of the RA Constitution applicable in 2008, namely, that «The forced powers of the Republic of Armenia assure the safety, defence and territorial  integrity of the Republic of Armenia, the  inviolability of the borders thereof.  The armed forces keep neutrality in political issues and are under the civil control», as well as point 13 of article 55 of the Constitution, stating that the RA President may announce military situation  in the case of armed attack to the Republic, immediate danger or announcing war, and after announcing military situation decision may be taken to use the armed forces. 

The RA Minister of Defence Mikayel Harutyunyan and other officials actually confirmed the military situation in the Republic of Armenia, by violating the RA Constitution, used the armed forces in civil issues, against the participants of the peaceful meetings. 

Particularly, Mikayel Harutyunyan, the RA Minister of Defence on February 23, 2008 signed highly confidential obviously illegal order N 0038 «on fulfilling the tasks set by the RA Commander in chief», in which the peaceful meeting participants have been characterised as «civil forces not recognizing results of RA presidential elections, destabilizing the situation», and in order to assure the «natural development of the country» the full staff of the RA armed forces was confined to barracks. Officers teams were established armed with service weapon. Confirmed with an order high mobility units armed with hand weapon, able to effectively operate in emergency were formed of the staff of the RA Armed forces. It was ordered to replenish the units with the most prepared and psychologically stable officers.  

On February 24, 2008 the RA Central Electoral Commission summarised election results and adopted decision N 24-Ա, according to which Serzh Sargsyan was elected the President of the Republic of Armenia.

The peaceful mass rallies of thousands went on in Yerevan city; the participants demanded re-calculation of results.

According to order N 0038 of the RA Minister of Defence Mikayel Harutyunyan dated February 23, 2008, the organization of new military management structure established by the said order within the frames of actual military situation in Yerevan city and anti-constitutional use of armed forces, displacement army units was performed, particularly, a number of  armed units of the military forces were taken off the main locations and moved to military units in Yerevan city or surroundings.  

At night March 1, 2008 before sunrise, the police forces performed «inspection of the site» at Freedom Square of Yerevan city, during which thousands of peaceful rally participants have been removed from the square and forced to stay at the surroundings of Myasnikyan monument.

The number of rally participants increased and in the afternoon the units of the Ministry of defence, equipped with the techniques, armed with hand weapon located in the Republic Square, Tigran Mets, Melik Adamyan other streets.

In the terms of actually approved military situation on the same evening the armed forces and police units implemented special actions with the use of arms, explosives and special measures to break up the peaceful rally and disperse the unarmed demonstrates from the central streets of Yerevan city.

Due to use of the weapon, ammunition, explosives and special measures a hundred of people  received bodily injury of varying severity, the state, Yerevan community and the citizens have been caused material damage in especially large amounts. During the said actions and incidents 8 civilians and 2 police officers died. The peaceful rally was broken up. Major loss was caused to the international loan of the Republic of Armenia. 

The accused M. Harutyunyan was announced search, request to apply taking into custody as a measure of restriction with his regard was filed to the court.

The preliminary investigation in underway.