Armenian Defence Ministry accused of failing to investigate non-combat deaths in army

    REGION  16 August 2022 - 13:16

    Armenian human rights activists are sounding the alarm because of the increasing number of deaths of servicemen in the Armenian Armed Forces in non-combat conditions.

    The activists say this indicates that the conscripts do not undergo a proper medical examination, including examination by psychologists.

    Earlier, Tigran Abrahamyan, MP from the Armenian National Assembly from the opposition faction “I have honour”, wrote on his Facebook page that the statistics of non-combat losses in the Armenian Armed Forces for the first half of August look depressing - 5 deaths in 15 days.

    “This suggests that military personnel do not undergo a proper comprehensive medical examination, starting from the draft stage, just as they do not pass during training camps, mobilization and conscription for contract service. In conditions of congestion, when people are already involved in military service, the state of health may worsen,” said human rights activist Armine Sadikyan in an interview with Epress.am.

    The country’s Prosecutor General's Office links deaths of servicemen to health reasons as "cases not related to the service", which Sadikyan disagrees with.

    “When a person is called up [to serve], he finds himself under the special care of the state. There are scheduled medical examinations and those that a person undergoes as needed. If organized on time, deaths due to health reasons can be prevented. All deaths are related to military service, because they occur behind closed doors, during the period when they are under the care of the state,” Sadikyan said.

    In the event of the death of a serviceman, the Investigative Committee seldomly reports the results of a forensic medical examination. Additional information about the progress of criminal cases is rarely published. According to the human rights activist, official information is not disclosed until the media or public organizations are personally interested.

    “And the investigation is going on for a very long time. There are cases where we are looking into cases from 2010 that are closed or are in the process of litigation,” Sadikyan said.

    “The true causes and perpetrators of the death of military personnel are often not established. “If there is not - and there is mostly none - an effective, full-fledged, comprehensive objective investigation, I cannot conclude what the real cause of death is. Over the years, in many cases, we see that the identity of the perpetrators is not established either for cases qualified as murder or for those qualified as suicide or “for health reasons”, they are not held accountable,” she said.

    Meanwhile, according to the Vanadzor office of the Helsinki Citizens' Assembly, in the first half of 2022, the Armenian Armed Forces (including units stationed in the zone of temporary responsibility of Russian peacekeepers in the Karabakh region of Azerbaijan) recorded 30 military personnel deaths, 21 of whom died in non-combat conditions: 7 – in road accidents, 7 – due to health problems, 4 of servicemen made or incited to make suicide, 2 - murdered, and 1 – as result of an accident.

    However, criminal cases were opened only on the fact of 17 deaths.

     

    Caliber.Az




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