Armenian parliamentary commission looking into questions surrounding April War
The Investigation Commission of the National Assembly of Armenia has begun to study the circumstances of the April 2016 war.
On May 4, the first meeting of the commission was held behind closed doors.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan believes that the investigation committee will help unearth a number of answers to questions surrounding the April 2016 Four Day War between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
On the investigation committee
The creation of the investigation committee was announced by the parliament on May 20.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said that the time had come to set up an investigation commission of the National Assembly to study the circumstances of the military actions of the Armenian Armed Forces on the line of contact in Karabakh from April 2 to April 5, 2016.
These events are called the Four Day War – it was the most massive and bloody flare up on the border of Karabakh and Azerbaijan since the signing of the truce in 1994.
According to official figures, over those four days, more than 200 people died on both sides.
On May 31, Parliament Speaker Ararat Mirzoyan announced that an investigation committee had already been formed to study the circumstances of the April 2016 war.
The investigation will try to uncover answers to a number of issues of concern to the public.
In particular, people are interested in questions about the equipment of the armed forces and whether the army was provided with proper food and other necessary items.
The commission of inquiry has 11 MPs, who will study the degree of efficiency of the decisions of the command.
According to the law “Regulations of the National Assembly”, the powers of the investigative commission will be exercised by the standing committee on defence and security issues. The chairman of this standing commission is the former deputy minister of defense, a deputy from the ruling My Step faction, Andranik Kocharyan.
The commission also includes members of the Prosperous Armenia and Bright Armenia opposition parties.
Opposition against the commission
The first Minister of Defense of Armenia and Chairman of the Public Council Vazgen Manukyan says the creation of a parliamentary commission on the April war is fraught with serious problems for the Armenian army.
“I consider its creation dangerous and harmful. The creation of the commission is fraught with dangerous developments, which I don’t even want to mention now”, said Manukyan.
Manukyan says the unlimited intervention of MPs in the internal affairs of the army can be a serious blow to the defense capability of the armed forces.
A Prosperous Armenia MP, the chairman of the standing parliamentary commission on human rights, Naira Zohrabyan, has the opposite opinion.
Zohrabyan says the Prosperous Armenia Party fully supports the creation of this commission and “believes that there are questions in connection with the April war, the answers to which should be given.”
Who will be called to testify
The investigative commission is authorized to demand answers to all its questions from senior officers, and even to request documents classified as secret.
Tigran Karapetyan, an MP from the My Step faction, a member of the standing committee on defense and security issues, said that former officials could be invited to the meetings of the investigative commission:
“We have no restrictions in connection with who we can or not invite to testify, regardless of whether they are current or former officials. We will consider all processes and aspects and, if necessary, we can call also [ed. Former Armenian president] Serzh Sargsyan,” said Karapetyan.
Moreover, he said that for clarification, the commission could invite both officials and servicemen from Nagorno-Karabakh:
“I think our colleagues from Artsakh are also interested in getting all the answers to the questions about the April War.”