The violence against journalists that occurred during the opposition rallies of April 5 and 13 were condemned by Armenian and international organizations, also professional associations, who called on the authorities of the country to hold everyone guilty accountable. On a number of episodes when media representatives were injured, criminal proceedings were instituted. However the situation of today arises doubt that the law enforcement bodies are interested to determine and punish the people who used force against journalists on professional duty.
Thus, on April 24 “Haikakan Zhamanak” published an article “Investigation Course Becoming a Disgrace”, where the actions of the law enforcement bodies are described. The actions were a reply to two letters by “Haikakan Zhamanak” to the General Prosecutor reporting the cases of impeding the work of the daily’s correspondent Haik Gevorgian and the acts of violence directed at him.
As it has been reported, Haik Gevorgian was injured both on April 5 and 13 (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, April 2-8, 2004 and April 9-15, 2004). At the same time according to the journalist in the second case the Deputy Head of the RA Police Hovhannes Varian personally took his photo camera and ordered to a group of people who accompanied him and had batons on them, to beat him. Because of this “Haikakan Zhamanak” addressed the RA General Prosecutor demanding to hold Hovhannes Varian accountable (see YPC Weekly Newsletter, April 16-22, 2004).
In the publication of April 24 “Haikakan Zhamanak” points out the fact that both its reports on the incidents with Haik Gevorgian on April 5 and 13 are currently considered by the investigative bodies within the proceedings, instituted, in fact, against the opposition parties. As the newspaper writes, “the potential object of the case” started by Article 258 of the RA Criminal Code (“public disorder”) with regard to events of April 5 is the opposition party “National Unity”, while the opposition “Justice” block is accused of an attempt of a violent regime overthrow in the early morning of April 13.
According to “Haikakan Zhamanak”, the prosecutor’s office, instead the two ways for proceeding applications, as stipulated by the legislation – to institute criminal proceedings basing on a press report or to refuse in instituting it – chose to act in the third manner, which, in the opinion of the editorial office is inadequate and does not allow to expect those guilty to be punished.