Wednesday, September 29, 2010

ARMY CANNOT BE COMBAT READY WITHOUT ORDER, DASHNAKTSUTYUN LEADER SAYS

NEWS.am
September 28, 2010 | 12:30


Beating, homicides and suicides exist in each army. However, recent tragic cases in the Armenian army indicate that the Defense Ministry should not exclude itself with investigation of single cases, the head of ARFD parliamentary group Vahan Hovhannisyan told the reporters.

According to him, even in cases when the guilty assume responsibility to the fullest extent of law, the problems are not solved.

"Are our officers educated? Do they have moral values to solve the problems they face? If certain units lack order, one should not expect them to be combat ready. Such military unit needs serious treatment, even a "surgery"," the ARFD leader said.

Hovhannisyan stressed that it is unacceptable to turn army into a target of political insinuations, adding that it is also inadmissible to make the army a participant of the political processes.

When Seyran Ohanyan Gave Green Light To Army Violence

By Ara K. Manoogian

The tradition for not punishing military personnel for violence has been set by none other than Colonel-General Seyran Ohanyan, Defense Minister of Armenia, on June 19, 2005. That day Seyran Ohanyan, then the Defense Minister of Artsakh, together with a number of high-ranking military officials—Samvel Karapetyan, Vardan Balayan, Artur Harutiunyan, Vladik Khachatryan, as well as current Defense Minister of Artsakh, Movses Hakobyan—subjected Artsakh war veteran Pavel Manukyan to a severe gang beating within the walls of the Defense Ministry. The incident became a scandal both on TV, and in media, however, it didn’t get as much public attention as it would today thanks to the social networks. Numerous articles were written about the violence committed by High-Ranking Generals, the Armenian authorities call on the their counterparts in Artsakh to conduct impartial investigation of the matter, former Arkady Ghukasyan promised to guarantee unbiased administration of justice. Read more...

Monday, September 27, 2010

LYNCH MOB VS. CIVIL SOCIETY

ARMENIAN SOCIETY SPLIT OVER ARMY CONTROVERSY

By Ara K. Manoogian

About two weeks ago a scandalous YouTube video of sadism in the Armenian army sent an alarm to thousands of people. Today it’s their reaction to the 4 minute and 42 second video that is more alarming. The question seems to have remained unanswered: is the footage a threat to Armenia’s national security or its content? Shortly after its online debut, the scandalous video disappeared, but I had managed to download it and immediately secured its availability online. I think I know why the other postings disappeared—a few days after I posted my copy of the video I was contacted by the 6th Department of the Armenian Police and the Defense Minister of Artsakh, Major-General Movses Hakopyan.

The short video documenting an officer—later identified as Major Sasun Galstyan—hitting and humiliating two Armenian soldiers in the Armenian army has crowded the web with numerous articles, blog entries, Facebook discussions and, importantly, comments, which have effectively become a talking mirror of Armenian society. Read more…

Sunday, September 26, 2010

What punishment will receive authors of Youtube scandalous video?

Chorrord Ishkhanutyun
September 24, 2010


The Chorrord Ishkhanutyun weekly discloses new details on the soldier harassment scandalous video on Youtube.

According to the source, the drunken mayor's revelries were made public due to Artak and Ashot Manasyans.

The video was made by a private soldier Manasyan, who worked as a driver in the emergency room. The officers of the Armenian Military Police investigated the soldier's brother and father Ara Manasyan to clarify how the video was made, brought to Yerevan and posted on Youtube. Manasyans were also in the room of the Armenian Chief of the Armenian Military Police Vova Gasparyan.

As to a reporter's question what punishment will be imposed on the serviceman and his family members and taking into account that Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan had promised to severely punish those guilty, the officers of the military police said: `Nothing will happen to them. They will go on living and giving evidence.'

Source: News from Armenia - NEWS.am

Armenian army hazing video gets results


http://www.eurasianet.org/node/62015
September 24, 2010 - 4:26pm, by Joshua Kucera


Hazing in post-Soviet militaries is unfortunately common. What's less common is someone getting punished for it, but that's what's happening in Armenia, where an officer was arrested and faces a sentence of up to five years for beating a young soldier. And that's at least in part thanks to the efforts of Armenian activist bloggers, who kept pushing the story until the Defense Ministry was forced to act:

The Armenian Defense Ministry officially confirmed on Wednesday the identity of an army officer who was arrested last week for abusing his soldiers and is now facing up to five years in prison.

The arrest followed the circulation of an amateur Youtube video that shows a uniform-clad man hitting and humiliating two army conscripts during what looks like a picnic. The footage caused public outrage, prompting the Armenian military to order an inquiry.

The Defense Ministry initially questioned its veracity and said those who posted it on the Internet are keen to `discredit' the Armed Forces. Subsequent media reports said military investigators tracked down the officer shown in the clip.


As EurasiaNet reported just earlier this month, the Armenian MoD had been taking stronger action against hazing even before this video came out. But the existence of video makes it much harder for those who are inclined to reflexively defend the army to deny that hazing is a problem. (The same thing happened in Azerbaijan a couple of years ago.) While the promise of cyberactivism can often be exaggerated, this is one case where there's room for optimism.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Armenian General Defends Army Abuse Leak

Asbarez
Thursday, September 23rd, 2010
http://asbarez.com/85652/armenian-general-defends-army-abuse-leak/comment-page-1/

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian’s chief military adviser effectively defended on Thursday individuals who filmed and publicized abusive treatment of two soldiers by their commander, which has caused public outrage in Armenia.

The official, Colonel-General Mikael Harutiunian, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service that the scandal could actually help the Armenian military combat chronic hazing and other abuses within its ranks.

The amateur video posted on Youtube earlier this month shows a uniform-clad man hitting and humiliating the conscripts during what looks like a picnic. The Armenian Defense Ministry subsequently identified him as Major Sasun Grigorian. Grigorian was last week arrested and charged with abuse of power, a crime punishable by between two and five years in prison.

The ministry initially questioned the veracity of the footage and said those who posted it on the Internet are keen to “discredit” the Armed Forces. A ministry statement issued on Wednesday said that military investigators are currently interrogating another serviceman who shot it on a mobile phone camera in the presence of his father and brother.

“Of course, it would be better if they immediately reported the incident to their commanders so that they could take action,” said Harutiunian. “But I see nothing wrong in the spread of that video. Maybe that will help the army command do a better job.”

Harutiunian, who previously served as defense minister and chief of the Armenian army’s General Staff, denounced the violent scene as “unacceptable.” “Such officers have no place in the army,” he said, expressing confidence that the army will be “cleansed” of them in the near future.

The head of the Defense Ministry’s Investigative Service conducting the inquiry would not say on Thursday whether the investigators want to prosecute the video shooter as well as the still unknown persons who publicized the embarrassing footage. Armen Harutiunian (no relation) said only that the inquiry will be “complete and comprehensive.”

Seyran Ohanyan Offers Media To Submit Cooperation Program

www.hetq.am
[ 2010/09/23 | 17:13 ]
http://hetq.am/am/media/pn-60/


At an unofficial meeting with a number of media leaders on September 22, Seyran Ohanyan, Armenian Defense Minister of Armenia, has proposed to create a program of future cooperation and joint activities with the Defense Ministry.

The Press and PR Department of the Ministry of Defense has released a statement that suggestions and considerations regarding the program should be submitted to the mentioned department at modpress@mil.am.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Armenian mass media identifies `the hero' of Youtube scandalous video

news.am, Armenia
Sept 18 2010


Sasun Galstyan is the officer who humiliated and abused Armenian soldiers in the Youtube scandalous video. According to the Zhamanak daily, Galstyan served as deputy commander in the `Yeghnikner' military unit.

As reported previously, RA Defense Minister stated he does not believe in authenticity of the video. Nevertheless, commenting on the soldier harassment video, in the Armenian army, he stated that experts are now studying the video and promised to severely punish the one guilty, if such a thing really happened. He also stressed that those who put the video on Youtube will be punished as well.

An investigation is underway.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

SEYRAN OHANYAN: VIDEO ON BEATING SOLDIER THAT WAS PLACED ON YOUTUBE IS EVIDENT DISINFORMATION

PanARMENIAN.Net
September 15, 2010 - 18:55 AMT 13:55 GMT


Armenian Minister of Defense Seyran Ohanyan said that unfortunately they have not managed to identify the person, who treats soldiers with such sadism.

Commenting on the video, which was placed on YouTube and showed how young people in uniform of the RA Armed Forces are beaten and humiliated, Ohanyan told journalists that currently professionals study it.

He added that they have not managed to identify the participants of the video in such short terms, as their faces are not seen.

"I strongly believe that it is a disinformation. I can't believe that a similar incident could take place and be recorded," concluded Seyran Ohanyan.

Minister Seyran Ohanyan man of principle, MP says

news.am, Armenia
Sept 17 2010



All those guilty of the recent incidents in the Armenian army must and will be punished, Hrayr Karapetyan, the Chairman of the Standing Committee on Defense, National Security and Internal Affairs, MP of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF), told a press conference.

`I am so confident because I know Minister of Defense Seyran Ohanyan very well. He is a man of principle. After each incident we met or talked over the phone,' Karapetyan said. The army incidents are deplorable, but Minister Ohanyan is doing his best to eradicate all the negative occurrences, which stem up from the Soviet times and the Karabakh war. Corruption is among the deplorable experience existing in the army. `However, relevant work is under way, Educative booklets form officers have been published. Commanders must learn to respect soldiers as they respect their children,' Karapetyan said. He pointed out that the draft disciplinary code of the RA Armed Forces has been submitted to the CE Venice Commission.

In his turn, Galust Sahakyan, Chairman of the Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) parliamentary faction, said that he is more concerned over the moral and psychological atmosphere in society rather than in the army - this, in fact, affects the Armed Forces. More serious problems existed in the Armenia army, but, because of a strained political situation, they were in the background. `At present, however, the political situation is calm, and some are trying to berate the incumbent authorities by discrediting the army. Well, we are ready for that too. But let them leave the army alone - it is one of the greatest achievements in Armenia's modern history,' Sahakyan said. On the other hand, he stressed that even a minor army incident is blameworthy.

SHAME IS CONCEALING IT AND REFUSING TO STRUGGLE AGAINST IT

by Hovhannes Kiramijian

Chorrord Inknishkhanutiun
#186 (Internet Issue #965), (internet article #11235)
http://www.chi.am/news/100917/10091711.htm
September 17, 2010, Friday



The latest YouTube video remains the number one topic for discussions in social and political circles. It's still a hot topic for debates in various social networks.

Here's a recap: a half-naked male, most likely a serviceman, beats up conscripts alternately by inflicting blows on their ears. The copy of the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOTt2znYS1c alone had over 8000 viewers as of yesterday, and the number of comments had grown beyond 400. Curses are dominant in the comments. The 4 minutes and 42 seconds long footage is most likely only a chunk of all that has happened in reality since it begins when the soldiers are already being hit, and it ends when the other conscript comes to get his share of the beating.

On the 2nd second of the footage one can hear "come close and take a seat"; 00:12—a cuss in Armenian; 1:49—"Pour me some beer"; 2:01—"That one is Bakur, right?", an old man's coarse voice "Now what is he doing?"; 3:20—"Run!" After that the soldier who was being hit goes away to fetch water. "Come a little forward" is heard at 3:26—it is the offender saying it to the soldier who is squatting a little farther from him. After that the soldier comes near and gets a beating. There's a 3-liter plastic bottle of natural juice made in Armenia in the video recording. On the right side of the screen, there's a rool of toilet paper—judging by its cover it's sold at numerous stores throughout Armenia. The conscripts and the offender wear military uniforms used in the Armenian army. The video was recorded on a cell-phone—the videographer can be seen hiding the cell-phone behind some cloth, probably his uniform. Considering all this, it can be concluded that the people in the video recording are citizens of the Republic of Armenia and serve in the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia. Below is a list of comments left by YouTube viewers regarding the incident (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOTt2znYS1c)

-razmik88: Whoever has uploaded the video is a traitor and must be shot dead against a wall. Anyone can make such a video, the uniform is sold in Vernisazh.

-snver: The murdered soldiers' blood, young men's blood has been lately up for sale in Vernisazh. Think a little, then write. Treason is to concealing such facts and tolerate them. The behavior of people like yours lowers the military efficiency of our army.

-torgom91: I don't understand why you feel about—if this is authentic Armenian footage, then that is our face. Let them see. Why not? He has done a good job by posting it—we show what we are.

-snver: Nothing surprises in this country anymore. The President, Prime Minister and the Ministers talk big and are capable of pretending to be even more catholic than the Pope himself. That's why people leave the country (at all cost), young men avoid serving for the country (the recent incidents in the army are an evidence), people with high scientific/scholarly potential leave the country.

-StepanGor: Bro, let's say the minister is not in his position. But the servicemen and officers are who make the army what it is, right? What minister are you talking about? How can that fat pig torture those kids. Or those beasts who silently relish the situation behind the scene or simply do nothing. Let's speak about a regular Armenian not being in his position. There will never be "kind tzars" or kings in life. There's no such thing. People themselves have to be stand up for their rights. You, myself and the rest.

-ArmenAntonyan: Shame on you, Armenians, take this video out of here. Are you the enemy of the nation or what?

-snver: Not the video ought to be removed but the Defense Minister of the Republic of Armenia because such things are taking place in the army. This is an order? How about the recent murders?... Those have been orders, as well. The shame is concealing it and refusing to struggle against it.

-serobo100: I'm already fed up—they are azeris, not Azeris, they are Kyrgyz, Turks… We see what we see: a thick neck whose face is clearly visible humiliates other persons and tortures them. Those people who express doubts on the authenticity of the footage in their comments are either women or guys who have been exempt from the army due to lunacy.

A struggle is necessary to make sure such immoral people are tried, and not to find out who uploaded the video: Everybody's faces are clearly visible. It just requires some work.

-arturo3312: Dear people, send this video to your friends, let everyone watch it, someone may recognize either the soldiers or that son of beast commander. That's the only way to find and punish him.

-tikooo1: Well, after all this go ahead and have your son join the army. this scum should be publicly disgraced so that it becomes a lesson for the others.


P.S. Judging by the discussions it becomes clear that a lot of people don't understand the part of the statement made Armenia's Ministry of Defense, where the military leadership condemns not the offender but the one who has dared disseminate the video recording. In a normal country, the Defense Minister would offer a reward for any information about the video recording, whereas in Armenia everything is done so that even someone who knows something keeps silent, forever. It is a pity but a fact that having won the war, we're losing in the times of peace. We won the Artsakh war because people who fought there loved their country, their homeland. We won because if we didn't, we would lose Artsakh, a part of Armenia. We gained victory because our freedom fighters knew what they were dying for; we won because we were fighting not for the hatred toward the enemy, rather for the love of our homeland; the homeland whose soldiers are being humiliated in the army and "commit suicide"; the homeland whose policemen stood up against the people, as a result of which 10 people died; the homeland where Levon Gulyan and Vahan Khalafyan died while giving testimony to the policemen; and, finally, the homeland whose heroes were sent to jail.

Those who posted that footage on YouTube with a "pass" from certain activitists within the ruling elite

Chorrord Inknishkhanutiun Daily
11:01 • 18.09.10

The well-known video recording about pulling of soldiers' ears uploaded on the web remains the hottest topic for discussions. Naturally, young people lingering on the margins of the authorities' circles couldn't help trying to grab the chance for self-realization through these interesting topics.

Thus, the news is Menua Harutiunyan who carries the badge of the Republican Party of Armenia has uploaded the video recording in question on YouTube following a "pass" received from activists within the ruling elite. However, when interrogated, Menua said that he had taken the video from a former Haylur employee Aram Harutiunyan's website. As a matter of fact, the footage of Hrant Tokhatyan's and Albert Azaryan's "nice expressions," which appeared at the same website not too long ago were ascribed to this very Aram Harutiunyan. And considering the previous experience, A. Harutiunyan was immediately taken to the 6th Division of the Armenian Police, where someone called and said to set Aram free. Yesterday, Aram Harutiunyan told us that he had no connection with that video recording. As a reminder, Seyran Ohanyan has threatened to severely punish those who have disseminated the video material.

Chorrord Inknishkhanutiun as quoted by Tert.am

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Humiliation in Armenian Army is Commonplace... Defense Ministry has Nothing to Say at This Time



Epress.am (http://www.epress.am/FNew.aspx?nid=3D3586)
Sept. 15, 2010



Nothing has yet been clarified about the video making waves online recently, RA Ministry of Defense press spokesperson Mushegh Aghekyan told Epress.am yesterday.


In the approx. 4-minute video, a man, perhaps about 40 years old and naked from the waist up, wearing fatigue army pants, appears to be hitting a younger man in army fatigues who is kneeling with his head bowed. This is then followed with a similar act on another younger boy, also in army fatigues.


Aghekyan assured that if it turns out that the video has been fabricated, the filmmaker and those who have disseminated the video will be punished; if the opposite is true, the video's "star" (the older man) will be the one who is punished.


Asked what has been done so far in this matter and whether the Defense Ministry's technical and professional expertise allows the video to be properly scrutinized, Aghekyan said that currently, he has no information for the media.


Employee at Armenia's Human Rights Defender office Nora Alaverdyan informed Epress.am that the ombudsman's office is not currently engaged in this issue. The Human Rights Defender's office will defer the case to the Defense Ministry if it turns out that the video is evidence of a violation of human rights, added Alaverdyan.


Employee at the Helsinki Citizens' Assembly Vanadzor office, human rights lawyer Arthur Sakunts is not directly involved in the work addressing this video, because at the moment he is preoccupied with the case of the six soldiers killed in Martuni.


At the same time, Sakunts is keeping his eye on developments related to this video. "Officers humiliating soldiers is a very common phenomenon in the Armenian army, but these issues are raised after soldiers are tortured to death," Sakunts told Epress.am.


Commenting on the Defense Ministry's response, in which the governing body of the RA Armed Forces doubts the authenticity of the video and promises to punish those who are disseminating it, Sakunts said that the military office has created an atmosphere in which the complaints of those subject to torture in the army are ignored, while the guilty remain unpunished.


The army's leadership, according to the human rights lawyer, is not preoccupied with revealing criminals, but rather tries to conceal the facts at any cost and to take revenge on those who share information and those who disseminate it.


"People in such a situation prefer not to complain, and this video is the last cry to raise this issue. The issue isn't the video, it's the phenomenon, which is widespread in the armed forces and has become commonplace in the army," said Sakunts.


He also considered claims that Azerbaijan produced the video to be absurd.


"When videos about indiscipline in the Azerbaijani army are uncovered, the Armenian side immediately makes statements saying see what's happening in their army. And no one says that the video could've be produced in Armenia," added Sakunts.


The video can be found by clicking on the link below. Note that the video is periodically taken down; however, YouTube users upload it again (and thus, it can be found through other links as well).


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DeHNhV8amR9c

Trouble in Service: Armenian army problems stir more public debate

By Naira Hayrumyan
ArmeniaNow correspondent
Human rights | 16.09.10 | 16:17
http://armenianow.com/social/human_rights/24745/armenia_army_hazing_debate


Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan faced tough questions as he spoke during a question-answer session in parliament on Tuesday following a string of events that rocked the Armenian military lately.


Ohanyan stressed he considered attacks against the ministry unjustifiable.

Responding to a question posed by MP Stepan Safaryan from the opposition Heritage party faction, Ohanyan said that in quantitative terms there have been fewer incidents in 2010 than in comparable periods of previous years. Simply, he said, this year’s incidents have received greater publicity, eliciting a broader public response.

The army and related issues have always been considered to be a tabooed subject in Armenia, because of the closed nature of the system, lack of access to information for nongovernmental organizations and self-censorship, which has not allowed talk about shortcomings in the military “not to play into the enemy’s hands.”

However, recent deadly events in the ranks have been given publicity in recent months and have elicited a broad response among the public at large.

Artak Nazaryan, a contractual servicemen, was found dead, with a fatal wound in his mouth, in his military unit in Armenia’s Tavush province two months ago.

The army leadership said it was suicide, but Nazaryan’s family claimed murder, pointing at the presence of traces of violence on the serviceman’s body.

Last week video appeared on internet websites showing scenes of beating and humiliation of young people dressed in the Armenian army uniform by those who appeared to be their officers. The video caused a boom in online social networks and media, fueling the continuing debate about the state of human rights in the army.

Discussions about the state of the Armenian army began after the June 17-18 incident near the village of Chailu in Karabakh when an Azerbaijani commando managed to infiltrate into an Armenian-held position and shot sleeping soldiers. Four people were killed and as many wounded in that assault. A month later, a soldier went on a shooting rampage in another military unit, killing five fellow soldiers before committing suicide. Another case of one serviceman killing another was reported in August.

The underlying theme of the public debate has been a demand for Minister Ohanyan’s resignation. However, the top military brass chose to conduct internal investigations (the results of which are not yet disclosed), dismiss some of the local officers and declare that the army is under reform. Even a draft law on changing the military code that regulates relations between soldiers and officers has been submitted to parliament.

Nevertheless, it is already obvious that the topic of hazing in the army has ceased to be the army’s internal matter.

The Defense Ministry has condemned the “deliberate spread of such materials”, which it said was “aimed at discrediting the Armed Forces of Armenia” (in reference to internet videos). But it also pledged to take measures “to verify the authenticity of the material, identify the people shown in it, find the author, and punish those who used violence.”

The main opposition Armenian National Congress also slammed the vicious practices in the army, saying that “any reasonable person subjected to such brutal treatment, especially 18-19-year-olds, would easily resort to committing suicide or killings, and even would prefer to escape to the enemy.”

ARMY IN FOCUS: VIDEO ON HAZING IN THE RANKS STIRS MORE PUBLIC DEBATE IN ARMENIA

By Gayane Abrahamyan
ArmeniaNow
http://www.armenianow.com/social/human_rights/24725 /armenian_army_hazing_youtube_video
15.09.10 | 12:17


Human rights

A recent footage showing ostensibly an army officer humiliating two young soldiers dressed in uniforms of the Republic of Armenia armed forces has added a new dimension to the continuing debate in Armenia about the state of human rights in the military after several cases of shootings and suicides in the ranks in recent months.

The video originally posted on YouTube quickly spread throughout other video sharing websites and online social networks.

It shows a scene in which a man stripped to the waist and wearing camouflage only from his waist down repeatedly hits two young soldiers on the head and drags their ears. The man, alleged to be an officer of the Armenian army, is shown from the back and his face cannot be seen.

The low quality of the video does not allow a viewer to clearly see faces or hear what is being said in Armenian. It is clear, though, that the soldiers wear Armenian army uniforms.

Those suspecting a fake video made by Azeri propaganda say getting an Armenian army uniform is not difficult.

Reacting to the video, Armenia's Ministry of Defense said it "strongly condemns the preparation and deliberate dissemination of similar materials which is aimed at discrediting and damaging the prestige of the Republic of Armenia armed forces."

According to the Ministry's statement, appropriate measures are being taken "to verify the authenticity of the video, identify those shown on it, finding the authors, punishing those using violence."

Armenia's main opposition Armenian National Congress (ANC) describes what is shown on the video as "high treason."

"Any man of reason, especially young people aged 18-19 who are subjected to such inhuman humiliation can resort to suicide and murder and prefer running to the enemy," said the ANC.

The opposition expresses concern that such a soldier subjected to humiliation "will not fight against the enemy if need be".

"This is how the army is being destroyed and Karabakh is being given up," the opposition bloc stressed.

Against the backdrop of tensions along the line of contact with Azerbaijani armed forces when ceasefire violations happen on a daily basis in Karabakh, many think that public sentiments against the army are "dangerous" in view of the approaching autumn conscription period.

"These are simply special operations incited from outside, which can indeed have a serious impact, as parents are terrified, the atmosphere of distrust is getting deeper, and it only plays into Azerbaijan's hands. We have problems with demography and similar things only further aggravate this problem," former Deputy Defense Minister Vahan Shirkhanyan tells ArmeniaNow.

As many as nine servicemen died in Armenian armed forces in non-combat conditions in the past two months.

The deadliest incident in the 18 years of the Armenian army's history took place on July 28, when a conscript went on a shooting spree, killing five of his fellow servicemen, including one lieutenant, one sergeant and three soldiers, and after that killing himself.

Only a day before that incident, in another military unit 30-year-old lieutenant Artak Nazaryan committed suicide, according to an official version of the events. But Nazaryan's relatives are convinced that he was killed as a forensic examination found traces of violence on his body.

And on August 17, 26-year-old junior sergeant Harutyun Vardanyan, serving in the army on a contractual basis, shot dead the same unit's contract-based serviceman, 44-year-old junior sergeant Arsen Chobanyan.

After these incidents human rights activists in Armenia called for drastic reforms in the army.

The main reasons for the situation in the army, according to the Helsinki Committee Chairman, human rights activist Avetik Ishkhanyan is corruption, cruel attitude of officers and impunity.

"Those responsible for victims in the army in peaceful conditions mainly go unpunished, often weaker circles become scapegoats, the innocent are convicted, cases are covered up, and this begets new crimes," says Ishkhanyan.

Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan promises to implement reforms, giving assurances that many problems will be solved by the reform program for 2008-2015.

While 100-170 soldiers died annually in peace conditions in 1998-2005, then in 2006-2009 this number is 40-70.

Member of the Public Council affiliated with the Ministry of Defense, Chairman of the "Soldier's Mother" NGO Greta Mirzoyan believes the situation in the army has improved, but it is only in comparison to more "terrible" years.

"It's true that the number of deaths is decreasing, but every soldier's life is valuable for us and the latest events are so terrible that very serious steps should be taken. It is no longer possible to wait and keep silent," Mirzoyan told ArmeniaNow.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Armenian Defense Ministery Use Scare Tactics To Hide The Truth

It seems that a statement which I guess I missed caused many posting of the famous Armenian Army beating video to be deleted. It looks like from the story that I made a list of people who would be punished for posting a video that allegedly discredits and dishonors the Armenian military.

I'm not sure how serious this threat really was or is now. From my telephone conversation with the Minister of Defense yesterday, he was a bit upset, but didn't dare tell me I was in trouble, nor did he ask me to remove the video.

Well I'm guessing this is now a moot point now that the authenticity of the video has been confirmed with the discovery of the Deputy Commander in the Northern part of Artsakh, who was secretly videoed beating two conscripts.


YOUTUBE VIDEO ATTEMPTS TO DISCREDIT ARMENIAN ARMY: PERPETRATORS WILL BE PUNISHED

Tert.am
11:42 • 13.09.10


Press office of Armenia's Defense Ministry has issued a statement which says those responsible for the preparation and dissemination of a video on Youtube will be punished.

Earlier on September a video was posted on Youtube depicting how soldiers, allegedly from Armenia's armed forces as they wore Armenian uniform, are being beaten and mocked of.

"The low quality of the video makes it impossible to clearly see faces, hear Armenian speech or expressions.

But in so far as those featured in the video wear the uniform of the Armenian army, it has sparked a lot of resentment in the Armenian society," reads the statement.

Further it says Armenia's Defense Ministry strongly condemns the preparation and premeditated dissemination of such materials aimed at discrediting and dishonoring the Armenian army.

"The Defense Ministry of the Republic of Armenia has taken relevant measures to find out the authenticity of that video, the identity of those featured in it, the authors [of the video] and to punish those who exercised violation," reads the statement.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The true face of the Armenian Army of today....

video

Do people and organizations in the Diaspora care enough to raise the issue of abuse and mismanagement in the army with the representatives of the regime in Yerevan? Would they demand the sadistic officer shown in the video to be court marshaled for humiliating those young... Armenian soldiers? After all, considering that this is happening on a very wide scale across country, this is as close to jeopardizing national security as you are ever going to get. Wake up, people! Tomorrow it might be too late.