PACE KEEPS MARCH 1 CLASHES IN THE LIMELIGHT
- The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) expresses its concern with regard to the fact that, until now, no responsibility has been established concerning 10 casualties that occurred during the 2008 events in Armenia.
PACE urges Armenia to pursue reform of the police and the judiciary with a view to guaranteeing its independence; to pursue a constructive dialogue between the opposition and the ruling coalition; to carry out a public inquiry with a view to establishing responsibility for the 10 deaths that occurred during the 2008 events, says Doc. 12954 "The Progress of the Assembly's Monitoring Procedure (June 2011-May 2012)", drafted by Andres Herkel, Estonia, Group of the European People's Party. The draft report will be heard at the PACE later in the day.
The report says in part that the co-rapporteurs on Armenia visited the country in January 2012 and presented an information note to the Committee, which was declassified in March 2012.
"The release of persons imprisoned in relation to the events of March 2008, and the renewed impetus to the investigation of the deaths which occurred during those events, as well as the start of a constructive political dialogue between the opposition and the ruling coalition, constituted positive developments during the reporting period," reads the report.
"The tragic events of March 2008 and their aftermath have set clear priorities for democratic progress in the country. These priorities included the conduct of genuinely free and fair parliamentary elections in compliance with democratic standards, the creation of a democratic political environment favouring the establishment of a pluralist system; a pluralist media environment, and the reform of the police and the judiciary, with a view to guaranteeing their independence," it continues.
The authors of the report say that in the run-up to the parliamentary elections, the political environment has improved dramatically and the opposition has become a well-organised viable political force. Also given the political differences in the ruling coalition, the election took place in a genuinely competitive environment.
"With regard to the reform of the judiciary and the police, during their last visit the rapporteurs noted with satisfaction a number of measures undertaken by the authorities with a view to fulfilling the recommendations of the Assembly. In particular, the announcement by the authorities that an independent police complaints mechanism would be established, in line with Assembly recommendations, should be welcomed. However, as confirmed by the Minister of Justice, these reforms alone will not be enough to ensure the independence of the courts or make corruption disappear. For that to happen, a change of mentality is needed. It is hoped that the appointment of a new generation of young and better educated judges will bring about such a change of mentality," says the report.
- 1825 Birth of Gabriel Soondookyan (playwright) in Tbilissi (Georgia). He died in 1912.
- 1889 Birth of Axel Bakunts (writer). He was murdered by the Armenian Soviet Secret Police in 1937.
- 1913 Start of Second Balkan War (to August 10). Turkey seizes and occupies Greek and Bulgarian territories.
- 1927 Kalinin (President of the Central Executive Committee of the USSR) arrives in Armenia.
- 1927 Death of Byuzand Qechian, co-worker of the "Byuzandion" daily and editor of "Arevelk", "Lrageer" and "Massiss".
- 1999 Death of Holy Father, His Holiness Garegin I (Nshan Sargissyan) Catholicos of All Armenians, the 131st Spiritual Leader of Armenian Holy Apostolic Church. He was born in 1932 in Kesap (Syria).