Armenian army under more stringent supervision in attempt to avoid military deaths during peacetime
Armenia has tightened control over the military. This happened after 13 military personnel in the Armenian armed forces were killed in the first two months of 2020 under peaceful conditions. The deaths outraged residents of the country and human rights defenders.
People were particularly upset about the fact that the latest tragedy occurred under unclear circumstances.
The following details are from a statement given by the general staff of the armed forces in response to the public reaction:
“Of the 13 dead … four died as a result of accidents, and four due to circumstances unrelated to their service (illness, personal problems). For the other five, criminal cases have been launched and the circumstances of their deaths are being investigated.”
However, human rights activists argue that investigations into the deaths of military personnel are not always carried out in full, and there are attempts to hide the causes of death and the real perpetrators.
The first change made after the tragic incidents took place was in the personnel. The Chief of the Military Police and the head of the Department of Moral/Psychological Support were fired.
The Ministry of Defense reported this in connection to the deaths of the servicemen and they continue to investigate the mistakes made by the command staff.
On March 3, Deputy Minister of Defense Gabriel Balayan stated that inspections were underway in military units, the situation was tightly controlled, and that “the orders of the prime minister are being implemented.”
In particular, the prime minister demanded that the problems associated with criminal subculture in the army must be solved, and that they must increase discipline.
“More stringent controls are underway. Yesterday, we issued a statement regarding the seizure of prohibited items, such as smartphones,” said the deputy minister of defense.
He states that smartphones are prohibited “due to interpersonal conflicts, as well as to ensure the safety of personnel.”
All parcels are carefully inspected by the military. In particular, it is forbidden to send alcoholic drinks to soldiers.
“Can you imagine what could happen when young people are intoxicated and surrounded by weapons?” says the deputy defense minister.
At the same time, Balayan does not agree with the remarks that were addressed to the army and officers today:
“I am not saying that we have no shortcomings. But it is not necessary to represent an image to the public that the army, military personnel, officers, and generals as bad, and everyone else is good. Believe me, many of our citizens have something to learn from these generals.”