Commissioner Disappoints The Revolutionaries

Gevorg Haroutyunyan

Hayots Ashkhar Daily
Published on July 16, 2008

THOMAS HAMMERBERG, Council of Europe High Commissioner for Human
Rights, arrived in Yerevan on Sunday on a three-day official
visit. Yesterday evening, after finishing all the planned meetings
and visits, Mr. Hammerberg also met with the journalists.

Although the CoE Commissioner said that during the past three days
he had already estimated the process of the implementation of PACE
Resolutions # 1609 and 1620, he also deemed it necessary to add the
following: "I have already received the answers to some questions. I
will have submitted my report to the PACE Monitoring Committee by
September 11 and anticipate to receive answers to some more questions."

The correspondent of "Hayots Ashkharh" tried to figure out whether the
Commissioner had got familiarized with the process of implementing the
resolutions or he had only managed to make assessments? This time,
Thomas Hammerberg’s answer was more precise. "Within the period of
three days, I have managed obtain maximum information and collect
maximum facts.

>From this moment till September 11, there will be an additional
correspondence between the authorities and me, and we will be
exchanging information.

Naturally, if I were to submit my report to the Monitoring
Committee tomorrow, I would state that the resolution w as not fully

In the meantime, Mr. Hammerberg called on us to consider and comment
upon the statements directly by himself. "I have heard that some
ministries have published press releases regarding the contents of
our meetings with the ministers. To make it clear, I would like to
say that I want to express my opinions myself."

Let’s note that during the past three days, the CoE High Commissioner
met with the President of the Republic, the Minister of Justice,
the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, the NA Speaker, several of
parliamentarians as well as L. Ter-Petrosyan. He also visited the
places of detention and talked to several detainees, their wives
and relatives.

Thomas Hammerberg especially touched upon the Foreign Minister’s
statement according to which he had allegedly agreed that instituting a
criminal case based on police testimonies conforms to the international

"The PACE Resolution passed in June specifies quite clearly that
no conviction is allowed based on police testimonies. This is the
attitude adopted by the Council of Europe and me with regard to
the current situation. This doesn’t mean that such cases should
be treated so strictly in any country. The thing is that the law
enforcers are perceived as the people’s opponents in a politically
tense atmosphere. In such situation, the proofs confirming the
accusation become impo rtant."

The speaker also substantiated the issue why the arrested organizers
and participants of the March 1 events cannot be considered as
political prisoners. "I have expressed my concerns that some of the
politically active individuals have been in detention for already 4
months and their cases are not sent to the court.

I have suggested that all the cases be sent to the court provided
there is available evidence. Otherwise, these individuals should
be released. I am sure that the rights of the politically active
individuals should be protected as much as the rights of all the
other people."

For some journalists, Thomas Hammerberg specially underscored that
his activities were independent of the activities of the Council of
Europe, and at the same time, he didn’t possess levers for influencing
that body or imposing anything upon it. And in response to one of the
journalists’ question as to what levers were necessary for exerting
pressures upon Armenia, the Commissioner for Human Rights answered,
"It’s up to them what to do. I don’t give them instructions as to
whether or not to punish anyone. I just present the facts available
to me. That’s all I can do."

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS