Former Defense Official Criticizes Jahangirian

BY INGA ZARIFIAN YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Ruben Martirossian–former head of the Emergencies Department of the Control & Inspection Commission of the Ministry of Defense–said that the Military Prosecutor’s Office deserves 90 percent of the blame in all crimes committed in the Armenian Army. The ex-official made that accusation at a meeting of the ad hoc commission of the Prosecutor General’s Office set up to look into violations within the Military Prosecutor’s system based on the Presidential Human Rights Commission’s complaints.

Ruben Martirossian himself has been engaged in a similar investigation since 1996 first as Chairman of the "Defense of the Soldier’s Rights" NGO and then from 1998 to 2000 as an official of the Ministry of Defense. The department that he used to lead was dissolved.

In an interview with Noyan Tapan–Ruben Martirossian said that he provided the Prosecutor General Aram Tamazian with a list of 18 criminal cases in connection with crimes committed in the army–and violations by the Military Prosecutor’s Office were evident in each of the crimes. Martirossian said that the list could be extended several times according to the number of serious crimes investigated by the Military Prosecutor’s Office. "The Military Prosecutor’s Office investigates most of the cases illegally," said Martirossian–who also pointed out that Military Prosecutor Gagik Jhangirian personally bears the greater responsibility for the criminal atmosphere that has been created within the system.

Martirossian singled out several cases which he called "outrageous lawlessness."

The first case (1999) is about the beating of Hakob Hakobian–27–an investigator of the Sevan garrison in the territory of one of the military units–as a result of which Hakobian lost his sight and became an invalid. No charges have been brought against anyone in this case yet–although–according to Martirossian–the victim repeatedly pointed to those who beat him in his testimony. According to Martirossian–investigators in this case were changed six times until a relevant conclusion was given and the case was suspended following the Military Prosecutor’s orders. Martirossian thinks that the criminals are still being protected–this time by the Prosecutorial Commission.

The second case (1999) is about the murder of serviceman Hrach Khachatrian in which Martirossian believes an innocent Grigor Grigorian was convicted. "It is lawlessness–large-scale lawlessness," he says. The testimonies of witnesses as well as some of the material evidence disappeared from the case. Martirossian is sure that the investigation was one-sided.

The third case (1997) concerns the murder of Garik Naghdalian in Zangezur. The prosecutor presented it as a murder through carelessness and by Jhangirian’s order Georgiy Yengibarian who was charged with the murder was released. The following details attracted Martirossian to this particular case: according to the case files–the soldier was mistakenly killed by a sharp-shooter–but the bullets came from the opposite direction. Further–tangible evidence includes testimonies of the shots fired at a waterproof cape-tent on which no traces of bullets were found. The testimonies by the witnesses do not coincide. Martirossian is sure that Garik Naghdalian was killed in a different way–but the truth will be difficult to find because the investigation was carried out improperly. However–in this case–too–one of the members of the commission who looked into the case said that Naghdalian’s murder was not criminal.

Another case is the murder of Aghasi Adamian–the trial in connection with which ended on November 13–2001. Adamian was found unconscious in a military unit and was transferred to hospital four hours later. In answering doctors’ question–the commander of the battalion Levonian said that the soldier simply felt sick. However–Adamian died two days later from cranial and brain trauma. Adamian’s fellow soldier Jivan Magoyan was convicted in the case. Martirossian is convinced that Magoyan was not guilty. He argues that in trying to make Magoyan "confess to the crime" they beat him so severely that he had to be hospitalized–but he was diagnosed with "malaria," by an investigator.

Although the doctors should not have confirmed that far-fetched diagnosis they did–and even the judge turned a blind eye to many circumstances of the case and sentenced Jivan Magoyan to 10 years in prison.

According to Martirossian–the former investigator of the Military Prosecutor’s Office Edik Hovsepian–who investigated 8 of the 18 cases–is now an aide at the Civil Prosecutor’s Office of the town of Kapan.

"If a criminal goes unpunished–there will be more crimes. One soldier is killed–another is sent to prison without guilt. How long will this continue?," said Martirossian. "I have no personal hostility towards Jhangirian–but he is so closely tied with army officials that he can not be untangled," he concludes.

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