Interview with RPA deputy chairman, MP Razmik Zohrabyan regarding PACE last resolution.
“The PACE resolution regarding Armenia particularly states that from now on the authorities must not put improper restrictions on the demonstrations organized by the opposition. It seems PACE is not satisfied with the amendments and supplementations made in the law on “Holding rallies, demonstrations and protest marches” What would you say in this respect?”
“As we know the law on making amendments and supplementations in that law has already been passed by the National Assembly and has already come into force. As regards the requirements made by the opposition, to hold demonstrations wherever and whenever they want, then I must say that it is up to the authorities to decide. The Municipality has the right to propose a proper place for holding demonstrations, based on the security of the citizens. And it cannot be considered an improper restriction.”
“The Parliamentary Assembly considers intolerable to conduct criminal persecutions based only on the testimony of the police. Is it a legally acceptable proposal to ignore the testimony of the police, in case of the absence of other testimonies?”
“From the legal point of view it is an unacceptable proposal and doesn’t meet the requirements of RA Criminal Code, and by the way not only RA. Besides that it is up to the court to consider the testimonies trustworthy or false. The demands and the proposals must be close to reality.”
“The resolution also proposes the President to appeal to the National Assembly with the law on “Amnesty”, which will provide an opportunity to release those detained in connection with March 1-2 developments, who didn’t commit violent actions. Which means only physical violence is considered a crime, do you think only physical violence is dangerous for the people?”
“Of course no. The criminal code envisages punishment not only for conducting physical crime, but also for instigating, organizing, and assisting violence, murder, firings and other types of crimes.
For example if it comes clear due to the investigation that the organizer or organizers made attempts to take power by force or breached the constitutional order of the Republic of Armenia, then they will face charges according to article 300 of RA Criminal Code, even if they failed to bring their violence to the end.
In my personal opinion the actions of Levon Ter-Petrosyan’s supporters were mainly aimed at taking power by force and breaching the country’s constitutional order. But they failed because the authorities did their best to avert dangerous consequences.”
“The new resolution attaches great importance to the activity of the temporary committee investigating March 1-2 developments, especially to the independence and transparency of the committee’s activity, as well as raising public trust.”
“Firstly I would like to mention that the before mentioned committee is a parliamentary committee and it hasn’t got investigative functions. The readiness of the authorities to include experts in the works of this committee is the very step aimed at raising public trust towards the committee.
As regards the proposal made by PACE, it should be addressed both to the authorities and the opposition. They should particularly take into account the fact that by refusing to have their representative in the committee, one wing of the opposition, “Heritage” party, to be more precise their faction represented in the Parliament, doesn’t contribute to raising public trust towards the committee.
This step of the opposition displays that no matter how transparent the work of the committee is going to be, opposition will anyway criticize it. PACE must have exhorted them to participate in the works of the committee by their own representative and contribute to the fair investigation. However I believe the authorities simply have to form a really independent body, to investigate what has happened and represent its standpoint.