Armenian Ombudsman Unhappy With Arrests Over March Events


July 11 2008

The Armenian human rights commissioner has said that the arrest of
people pending trial over the post-election disturbances last March
runs counter to the provisions of the European Convention on Human
Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, Arminfo news agency reported on
11 July.

Speaking at a news conference in Yerevan, Ombudsman Armen Harutyunyan
criticized Armenian courts for the failure to take into consideration
the arguments of the defence and to consider restrictive measures
other than arrest, as recommended by the European Convention on Human
Rights and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, Arminfo
added. Harutyunyan said he mentioned these shortcomings in his 2006 and
2007 annual reports. However, they were ignored, which has led to the
establishment of bad practice, Arminfo quoted Harutyunyan as saying.

The ombudsman said he would not participate in the work of the
temporary parliamentary commission for the investigation of the
March events, if he "feels that the format of his participation in
the commission’s work becomes senseless", Arminfo said in a separate
report. "Everyone would have benefited if Armenia’s whole political
spectrum was represented in the commission," Harutyunyan said.