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Intentional Murder or Accidental Shot. Defender Comments on the Facts of Soldier Lyuks Stepanyan`s Case

It is already for a year that the murder case of soldier Lyuks Stepanyyan in one of the Military Units of Noyemberyan has been in the center of public attention. Soldier of the same military unit Davit Khachatryan is involved in the case as accused. 

According to the accusation Davit Khachatryan is charged with firing a bullet towards Lyuks Stepanyan after the latter insulted him, as a result Lyuks Stepanyan died of gunshot wounds in the area of head, and soldier Hrachya Sargsyan got bodily injury dangerous for his life.

Iravaban.net spoke with Davit Khachatryan`s defender Yerem Sargsyan on the case. He presented his comments on the facts of the case. 

A couple of days after Lyuks Stepanyan`s murder his relatives and residents of his village decided to transfer the corpse of Lyuks Stepanyan to Yerevan and hold a demonstration in front of the Ministry of Defense. The Minister of Defense Seyran Ohanyan met them on the highway Sevan-Yerevan and tried to comfort the relatives to prevent that step.

– As a result the situation was quite tense. Relatives were being persuaded in all possible ways to go back. Besides the Minister of Defense, there was also Head of Police Vladimir Gasparyan, former Military prosecutor Gevorg Kostanyan. And in this tense situation the relatives demanded that Seyran Ohanyan declared that the shot was intentional and what happened was an intentional murder. And on the third day they demanded this statement to be made. Seyran Ohanyan confirmed stating it was an intentional murder.

Iravaban.net tried to get answers on this matter also from General Prosecutor Gevorg Kostanyan who was a military prosecutor at that time. To our question to what extent Seyran Ohanyan`s statement contributes to fair and objective judicial investigation when only 3 days passed from the case, the General Prosecutor answered: “Criminal case is initiated with regard to a fact. So the evident factual conditions which have initially been known to the preliminary investigation gave basis to initiate a criminal case on Article 104 of the Criminal Code – for intentionally depriving a person from his life. And the fact that on the same day the criminal case was initiated for intentional murder, the Minister of Defense based on that made a statement that it was an intentional murder”.

– We might have not referred to the statement of the Minister of Defense thinking that it was a step stemming from the situation, if the whole preliminary investigation didn`t go in that direction afterwards and the preliminary investigative body didn`t try to confirm the position of its head which had been publicly expressed.

As to the announcement of the prosecutor that the case was initiated on the basis of the criminal act and that it was clear that the Minister of Defense had made such a statement, let me say that if we listen carefully to the interviews on other cases, he states for many times that this or that case is in the stage of preliminary investigation and he can`t give concrete information, that there is no need to hurry, but he never says that presumably an intentional gunshot was fired.

And with this logic the Minister could have said that the case was initiated under 2nd part of the Article 104 – intentional murder in a manner dangerous for others` lives. With preliminary evidence he was accused of exactly that, but the entire image will be clear at the end of the preliminary investigation.

You can find the full article in Armenian here.

Arev Avagyan


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