March 12, 2008
We, the legal representatives of those persons, who following the mass violence on March 1 and 2, 2008 have been placed in different police departments and detention places by the law enforcement bodies, are making an announcement regarding President R. Kocharyan’s Decree from March 1, 2008 disputing its correspondence to the provisions of the European Convention of Human Rights.
We consider that the Decree of the President of the Republic of Armenia contradicts Articles 6 and 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights and that the Republic of Armenia being one of the High Contracting parties to the Convention has thus fell short in meeting the taken responsibilities.
Although the justification of introducing State of Emergency was the urgent need of preventing the threats to the constitutional order, as well as the protection of the rights of the citizens, the restrictions imposed by the Decree resulted in the creation of a state of fear, terror, as well as violent infringement of the rights of the same citizens.
At the same time it should be mentioned that the actions of the pre-investigation bodies are presently completely out of any surveillance.
In particular point 4 of the Decree puts restriction on holding meetings, public rallies, demonstrations, marches and other mass events, the coverage of state and domestic political issues by mass media can be realized solely within the limits of the official information from state bodies.
This allows for restriction and control of de facto, effective implementation of our defense activities, as the exercise of defense activities presupposes also public hearings under close attention of human rights organizations, which is not being done.
At his March 5 Press Conference the President of the Republic of Armenia directly accused the opposition, and the pre-investigation bodies use this accusation as a guideline. The principle of presumption of innocence was breached when the President voiced the names of those whom he accused.
One-sided, provocative and accusative propaganda of official media is broadcasted by all means of mass media, by which the alternative way of thinking is excluded, including presentation of views and opinions coming from defensive rights of our clients
Moreover, RA President also harshly criticized RA Ombudsman, who simply mentioned some of the facts of continuous infringement of the rights of peaceful demonstrators: keeping people in different police departments without any legal basis, not providing any information to relatives, application of mass violence and continuous facts of not providing sufficient time and possibilities for preparation to defense.
Thus this Decree should be viewed as a state act, which contradicts both the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia and the ECHR.
On behalf of other lawyers Varduhi Elbakyan, lawyer