We Demand the Dismissal of the Head of Police

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22 September 2022

On September 21, 2022, in the morning of the Independence Day of the Republic of Armenia, in the Yerablur military pantheon, before Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s visit, the police officers, using force, detained the relatives of the fallen servicemen, who initially behaved peacefully and lawfully.

Using disproportionate force and organized lawlessness, police officers detained 37 citizens most of whom were family members of fallen servicemen. There are also credible reports that some of the parents of the fallen servicemen were physically injured during the operation. As a result of the operation, a number of rights of citizens guaranteed by the Constitution of Armenia, the European Convention on Human Rights and the legislation of Armenia were violated.

Judging by the fact that after being detained, the relatives of the fallen servicemen were also subjected to illegal persecution in the departments (administrative offense records were drawn up against them), and a large number of officers of the police and various units of the police force participated in the detention operation, it can be confidently asserted that the operation was carried out at least on the orders of the senior police personnel.

The joint superior (head) of the police and these units of the police forces is the Head of Police Vahe Ghazaryan who is directly subordinate to Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.

We, the undersigned non-governmental organizations, declare that issuing and execution of orders to carry out illegal force actions against citizens by the Armenian police leadership is unacceptable. And issuing orders to use violence against the family members of servicemen who have fallen for the defense of the state and to illegally deprive them of their freedom also crosses all moral limits.

It should be noted that the organized violence against the relatives and parents of the fallen servicemen also has a very negative impact on the moral and psychological condition of the soldiers protecting the borders of Armenia from Azerbaijani aggression these days.

Leading the police in this style not only does not follow the values ​​of the 2018 revolution and democracy in general, but also adds to the list of a number of previously recorded processes contrary to these values ​​ (such as the obstruction of reforms, the lack of internal fight against corruption and the inability to effectively fight against crime).

Based on the above, the undersigned non-governmental organizations believe that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan should dismiss the Head of Police Vahe Ghazaryan from his position (by submitting a relevant petition to the RA President).

Otherwise the full responsibility for illegal violence against the relatives of the fallen servicemen and other mentioned issues lies with the RA Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan himself.

At the same time, we consider the lack of response and qualification by the RA National Assembly regarding the incident unacceptable, and even more so, the attempts by some representatives of the ruling faction to justify this criminal behavior of the police.

Let us add that we consider that prosecuting the perpetrators of this organized crime by the police will be a serious indicator of the independence of the judicial system in Armenia.

  1. “Union of Informed Citizens”
  2. “Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly-Vanadzor”
  3. “Open Society Foundations – Armenia”
  4. “Free Citizen” Civic Initiatives’ Support Center
  5. “Driver’s Friend” human rights NGO
  6. “Asparez” Journalists’ Club
  7. “Protection of Rights without Borders” NGO
  8. “Women’s Resource Center” NGO
  9. “For Equal Rights” Educational Center NGO
  10. “Human Rights Research Center” NGO
  11. “Transparency International” Anti-corruption Center
  12. “House of Women’s Rights” NGO
  13. “Centre for Community Mobilization and Support” NGO
  14. “Peace Dialogue” NGO
  15. “Pink” human rights NGO
  16. “Prospective Development Center” NGO
  17. “Armenian Constitutional Right Protective Center” NGO
  18. “Human Rights Power” NGO
  19. Restart Foundation for Science and Education
  20. “Sose Women’s Issues” NGO
  21. “Freedom of Information Center”
  22. “Armenian Progressive Youth” NGO
  23. “Multilateral Information Institute” NGO
  24. Public Journalism Club
  25. Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression
  26. “Tatevik” NGO
  27. “Human Rights House Yerevan” NGO
  28. Media Initiatives Center
  29. “Restart Gyumri” initiative center NGO
  30. Small and Medium Business Foundation
  31. “Journalists for Human Rights” NGO
  32. Federation of Youth Clubs
  33. “Family and Community” NGO
  34. “Real World, Real People” NGO
  35. “Mission Armenia” NGO