YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–A 33-year-old legal assistant to President Serzh Sarkisian was appointed as Armenia’s new chief military prosecutor and introduced to his subordinates on Thursday.
The official, Gevorg Kostanian, had served as deputy minister of justice before joining the presidential staff in 2008. He has also represented the Armenian government at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg since 2004.
According to his official biography released by Sarkisian’s press service, Kostanian began his career at the age of 18 when he was employed by the Justice Ministry as a “first-class counsellor.” He was a first-year university student at the time.
Prosecutor-General Aghvan Hovsepian praised Kostanian’s “extensive work experience in the legal-judicial sphere” as he presented the new military prosecutor to his staff. Hovsepian said he expects Kostanian to carry out “reforms” in the Military Prosecutor’s Office and step up its oversight of criminal investigations into crimes committed by military personnel.
Such investigations are conducted by the Investigative Service of the Armenian Defense Ministry.
It was not immediately clear if Kostanian’s appointment was connected with a recent spate of non-combat deaths and other violent incidents within the Armenian army ranks. Defense Minister Seyran Ohanian has repeatedly pledged a tougher crackdown on army crime.
Hovsepian claimed that military prosecutors’ peformance “improved considerably” under Kostanian’s predecessor, Armen Khachaturian. Sarkisian’s office gave no reasons for Khachaturian’s dismissal.