YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–After more than eight months of investigation–the probe of the core case of the October 27 terrorist act has ended. The head of the Department of Investigations of the Military Prosecutor’s office and of the group of investigators of October 27 case–Artak Harutyunian–informed RFE/RL’s Armenian Service the criminal case against 14 defendants will go to the court.
The parts of the October 27 case connected with the illegal possession of weapons–with possible involvement in the terrorist act of October 27 and with neglect of duties were separated.
According to Artak Harutyuninan–the intelligence operational measures and investigation process connected with the separate parts of the October 27 case will continue. There will be also a decision to allow the victims of the October 27 case to review the whole case.
After sending the case to the court–the judge will be given a certain time to review the case. Most probably the court trial will start in late autumn. There are some suggestions that the trial could start as in October 27–the first anniversary of the terrorist act.
After dismissing the cases against five people charged with assisting the October 27 case–14 defendants remain. Twelve people are still in jail–including the five gunmen and the defendants who allegedly had foreknowledge of criminal act–as well as those who were charged with neglect of their duties.
However it is not clear how the investigation in the separated cases will proceed. In fact up to now there are no defendants on the charges separated from the core case.
The investigators are not excluding that there were supporters and instigators of the terrorist act. But according to the defense lawyer of Nairi Hunanian–Artashes Pahlavuni–his defendant confessed that he has acted alone. Artashes Pahlavuni told RFE/RL that his defendant explained the motives of his crime in a 100-page document–in which he concluded that he decided to do something–because the country was on the verge of collapse.
Some officials claim they had prior knowledge of a terrorist act in the offing. Several month ago–the chief of the military police Vladimir Gasparian told "Armenia" TV station he personally warned Vazgen Sargsyan several times that there would be an attempt to assassinate him.
Minister of Social Security Razmik Martirossian confirmed Vladimir Gasparian’s statement. Martirossian told RFE/RL that Vazgen Sargsyan has been warned at least four times–but the former prime minister didn’t pay attention to the warnings and didn’t take appropriate measures to check the validity of the reports of an imminent assassination attempt against him.
About two months ago–when the spouses of the victims of killings and the mother of Vazgen Sargsyan met President Robert Kocharian–the General Prosecutor and the Military Prosecutor–the wife of Leonard Petrossian stated that her husband had been very nervous. According to Larisa Petrossian–her husband had instructed her to seek Vazgen’s help if something happened to him.
Many wonder in Yerevan–if these reports are true–then what about the Security Services? Were they informed about the planned terrorist act? And if yes–why didn’t they take the necessary actions to prevent it?
A Ministry of National Security colonel told RFE/RL that there is a special department in the ministry which should have gathered preliminary information and taken the preventive measures. Certain officials from the security agencies should have been charged for failing to prevent the shootings–the colonel–who wished to remain unnamed–told RFE/RL.
The head of the investigation group of military prosecutor office–Artak Harutyunian–declined to comment on the question of whether the investigation of the charges of neglect of professional duties separated from the core case of October 27 will apply to the officials of the Ministry of National Security. He cited the secrecy of preliminary investigation. According to Artak Harutyunian–the investigation of the separated cases will continue as long as necessary.
No matter how complicated the case is–many officials–including most members of the investigative group of the Military prosecutor’s office–believe that it is impossible for amateurs to commit a crime on the scale of the 27 October shootings.
"There are organizers. They are not known today–but they will be eventually exposed in one or several years," says Artashes Pahlavuni–the defense lawyer of Nairi Hunanian–who claims to be the master-mind behind the killings.