“The penitentiary institutions, armed forces, police are the main institutions our beneficiaries point at”, says Ara Gharagyozyan, lawyer at Against Violation of Law NGO and notes that in 2018 their organization has received over 30 torture and mistreatment cases.
Artyom Sedrakyan, head of department of RA Human Rights Defender’s Staff Criminal Justice and Armed Forces notes the inreasing number of torture cases addressed to the Ombudsman.
“Hunger strikers cases are increasing. It is based on 2 things: people have become more aware and they trust the institution they turn to”, Sedrakyan says.
He spoke about the legislative amendments regarding tortures.
“It is a positive move to conform torture crime to international documents. The moral compensation institute is also new. There are positive moves but we should not limit ourselves with legislative amendments. According to European Court standards the independence, speed and comprehensive approach of the investigation are also important.
Araks Melkonyan, lawyer at Human Rights Protection without Borders says that torture has been criminalised but humiliating and offensive treatment are left out. People can be subjected to mistreatment at any closed institution or by officials.
“Torture case investigations are formal. We face the problem of expert independence, forensic expertise is not being carried out while the person can be subjected to psychological trauma also”, the lawyer says.
Robert Revazyan, lawyer at Helsinki Committee of Armenia says that prior to the recent political developments there was but zero progress in torture case investigations.
“No proceedings were instigated against many torture cases. Exclusive are torture investigation cases. No policeman was ever charged for torture. The impunity must be put an end to. If the policeman knows that his action will be punished, it will yield its results in preventing torture cases”, Revazyan added.
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Lilit Arakelyan, Media Center project editor/coordinator.