Armenian Bar Association releases statement on excessive use of force against peaceful protesters in Armenia

The Armenian Bar Association expresses profound concern regarding reports of excessive use of force by law enforcement officials against protesters in Armenia on June 12, 2024. Protesters in Yerevan attempting to block entry to the Parliament faced fire from officers with stun grenades, and violent clashes erupted, resulting in 101 injured protesters and 17 injured police officers, as well as 98 detentions. At least 10 journalists reporting on the protests were among those injured, and police also forcibly ejected a number of journalists attempting to report on events from inside the parliament’s press galley.

The right to peaceful assembly is a fundamental human right enshrined in the Armenian Constitution and international human rights treaties to which Armenia is a party, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights. These rights are essential for the functioning of civil society, allowing citizens to express their views, grievances and aspirations freely and without fear of retribution. International law requires governments to respect and protect the right to peaceful protest. Law enforcement officials should avoid the use of force against protesters; where this is not possible, force should only be used when it is absolutely necessary and proportionate to achieve a legitimate law enforcement objective, and to the minimum extent necessary.

The resort by police officers to the deployment of stun grenades against protesters appears to constitute an excessive use of force and a violation of these fundamental rights. Such actions not only endanger the physical well-being of the demonstrators but also undermine the rule of law and the democratic principles that our society upholds.

We call upon the Armenian government and law enforcement agencies to:

  1. Ensure accountability: Conduct a thorough, transparent and independent investigation into each credible allegation involving the use of excessive force against peaceful protesters. Those found responsible for any misuse of force should be held accountable, and appropriate measures should be taken to prevent recurrence.
  2. Protect the right to peaceful assembly: Reaffirm and respect the constitutional right of citizens to peacefully assemble and express their views. Law enforcement should facilitate peaceful protests and ensure the safety and security of all participants.

The Armenian Bar Association stands in solidarity with citizens peacefully exercising their democratic rights and calls on all stakeholders to refrain from violence and uphold the principles of justice, human rights and the rule of law. We remain committed to monitoring the situation closely.

In these challenging times, we must collectively strive to uphold the values of democracy and human dignity, ensuring that Armenia remains a country where the rights of all individuals are respected and protected.

Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

Guest contributions to the Armenian Weekly are informative articles or press releases written and submitted by members of the community.

1 Comment

  1. 3. Enjoy your new “democracy.” Armenia earned it.

    the whole situation is so silly, needless and frustrating, there is nothing else left to say about it. All of this was entirely inevitable and easily understood when a foreign agent was put into power. Unless someone acts fasts, it’s very clear that there will be no Armenia in rather short order. Russia and Iran are not going to “save” you from Turkey, and obviously the dear US will not either. In fact it’s the US’s that’s serving you up to Turkey on a platter while Russia and Iran shake their heads in disgust.

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