Sevan-Yerevan highway as a Route for Military Drills16:13, June 22, 2013 | Announcements | Freedom of Assembly and Association, Freedom of Movement, Right to Education, Rights of Soldiers/Recruits | Armed Forces
As a sign of protest, the relatives of term soldier Lyuks Stepanyan, who was murdered on May 15 of 2013 in Noyemberyan, attempted to transport his dead body to the RA Government building claiming full revelation of the boy’s death circumstances. As we already know that attempt was offhandedly prevented on Sevan-Yerevan highway on the part of force structures.
Since impeding the peaceful protest action of civilians and moreover, the inclusion of armed forces in it is unconstitutional, on May 29, 2013 Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor sent a inquiry to the RA Defense Minister with a request to clarify by whose order the divisions of armed forces moved from their permanent location to Sevan-Yerevan highway.
A response from the RA Ministry of Defense was received on June 18, 2013, pursuant to which, “No order either to impede or prevent the protest action held on 18.05.13 was given to the Military Police subdivisions of the RA Defense Ministry, moreover, there was no such intention. When Sevan Garrison Military Police Department of the RA Ministry of Defense received information that there was overcrowding of people on Yerevan- Sevan highway which could pose substantial obstacles not only to the strategic moving of the line of military vehicles but also to the undertaking of urgent operative measures on the part of MoD Military Police staff, the relevant staff of MoD Military Police Department arrived at site and merely attempted to “clarify things.”
In fact, it turns out that citizens moving along Yerevan-Sevan highway could theoretically impede the strategic progression of the line of military vehicles (by the way, neither such strategic progression nor necessity for it was noticed in that area in the mentioned time period) that is why the moving of a great number of divisions to that very area was considered permissible merely “for clarification”. Whereas, the fact that the aforementioned “clarification” was combined with application of violence against the relatives of Lyuks Stepanyan was perhaps considered secondary or else an accepted strategic means of “clarification” by the Defense Department.
Perhaps it would be more acceptable if the RA Defense Department explained this illegal order by the necessity of moving the military divisions in order to partake in Lyuks Stepanyan’s funeral and also mentioned that by the initiative of the MoD such attention would be paid to all of the servicemen who died during military service and their families irrespective of the death triggers and actions undertaken by the family members. Instead, the Defense Department once again justifies the illegal application of armed forces against its own citizens and as justification presents at least illogical reasons.
Based on the response it may be inferred that the residents of Gegharkunik and Tavush regions should in advance obtain information from the RA MoD regarding the possible moving of military vehicles prior to travelling along Yerevan-Sevan highway; otherwise, they might be subjected to unexpected blockade on the part of the Military Police and military divisions.