European Court to Review Case of 4 Armenia Diplomats Dismissed After Mar. 1, 2008
An application submitted by four diplomats dismissed from their posts after the events following the 2008 presidential elections in Armenia will be reviewed by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
Recall, Armenia’s foreign minister at the time, Vartan Oskanian, sacked head of the RA Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) press department Vladimir Karapetyan, head of the MFA’s NATO division Marta Ayvazyan, European department advisor Arakel Semirjyan and head of the US and Canada division Karine Afrikyan.
On this occasion, Epress.am spoke with one of the applicants, writer, publicist Arakel Semirjyan, who also happens to be the nephew of opposition Armenian National Congress leader and defeated candidate in the 2008 presidential election Levon Ter-Petrossian.
“It was time for the European Court to examine our application. There hasn’t been a precedent in which this many diplomats appeal for the reason that they were dismissed from their jobs. It’s a case with no precedent and that’s why it’s in the European Court’s center of attention,” he said.
Semirjyan said the absurdity in their sacking lies in the fact that they didn’t make a political statement. After the 2008 presidential election, the diplomats disseminated a statement in which they urged the parties to be rational, and called upon the Armenian authorities to take steps to carry out all the proposals and observations on electoral fraud raised by international organizations, which the constitution obliges them to do so.
“Our request, to fulfill their constitutional obligation, was viewed as a crime,” he said, adding that though they didn’t make a political statement and were punished, there were people who made political statements at the time and weren’t punished.
In particular, Semirjyan noted that diplomat Gegham Gharibjanyan expressed his support for Serzh Sargsyan and for the Republican Party of Armenia; however, he wasn’t dismissed from his post.
“Ruben Hakobyan [currently, vice chair of the opposition Heritage Party], who at the time was [Armenia's] consul in St. Petersburg and was still a Dashnak [Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF-D) member], he too expressed his support for the current authorities — at the time the coalition, of which ARF-D was a part. Those statements were made in Feb. 2008,” he stressed.
Famous French chansonnier of Armenian descent Charles Aznavour, who is currently Armenia’s ambassador to Switzerland, Semirjyan added, also criticized the authorities; however, he hasn’t been held responsible.
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