Wednesday, June 22, 2005

ARF-D demands resignation of top NK Military Commanders

RFE/RL reports that after a prominent Dashnak activist was allegedly beaten, the ARF-D have demanded that top military commanders in the self-declared Republic of Nagorno Karabagh resign or be dismissed.

The Armenian Revolutionary Federation (Dashnaktsutyun) demanded on Wednesday the resignation of Nagorno-Karabakh’s top military commanders who are alleged to have severely beaten up a local activist of the influential party opposed to the unrecognized republic’s government.

Pavel Manukian, a prominent participant of the war with Azerbaijan who is affiliated with Dashnaktsutyun, was taken to a military hospital in Stepanakert on Tuesday with what his friends and relatives described as life-threatening injuries sustained during a visit to the Defense Ministry of the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR).

According to the Dashnaktsutyun leadership in Karabakh, Manukian said after regaining consciousness that he was assaulted in the office of the NKR defense minister, General Seyran Ohanian. A Dashnaktsutyun statement quoted him as saying that Ohanian himself started the beating before being joined by other senior military commanders present in the room.

ArmInfo reports that Pavel Manukian was a candidate in parliamentary elections held Sunday in the disputed territory which the ARF-D — part of the ruling coalition government in Armenia but opposition in Karabagh — claim were undemocratic. Nevertheless, most observers gave the elections a clean bill of health, unlike those held in Armenia during 2003.

Regardless, the Karabagh President, Arkhady Ghukasian has promised an immediate investigation and that those found guilty will be prosecuted.

Actually, this is an interesting case study. In countries such as those in the CIS, nobody is expecting that elections and their aftermath be as clean as those in the West for now at least. However, what people do expect is that any violations of the electoral code or violence etc is punished under the law. In Armenia, it isn’t but let’s see how Karabagh deals with this one.

It’s a real test for democracy, especially when NK is still under martial law and those accused are significant figures in the military. Anyway, the RFE/RL report can be read online here.

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