Sunday, 08 December

In 1999, Russia Wanted to Try Its Two Soldiers Accused of Murder in Gyumri; Armenia Refused

In the first installment of this article comparing the cases of murders committed by Russian soldiers, the first in 1999 and the second in January of 2015, I have concluded, after researching case materials at the Shirak Provincial Court that in the 1999 incident Armenian and Russian law enforcement bodies worked collaboratively, but that the Armenian side took the lead.

This is affirmed by various written material and even agreements reached between the Armenian and Russian parties regarding technical issues and various.

Take the following points showing that the Armenian side led the investigation in 1999:

1-The two Russian soldiers, Aleksey Kamnyev and Denis Popov, were arrested by Armenian law enforcement

2-An Armenian court prescribed pre-trial detention for the accused

3-Detention was served at the Gyumri #2 Investigative Solitary Confinement Unit

4-In-house psychological testing was performed at the Nubarashen Psychiatric Ward

5-Two volumes of investigative material amassed by the Russian Military Prosecutor was handed over to Armenian law enforcement

6-The trial of the two Russian soldiers took place at the Shirak Provincial Court.

Furthermore, that criminal case included a letter of V. Gorobets, President of Russia’s North Caucasus Military Court, in which he requests that all the materials collected by Armenia’s Military Prosecutor be handed over to the Russians in order that the two cases be combined and that the trial be conducted by the Russian military court.

In his letter, Gorobets writes that according to Russia’s Criminal Code a full, objective and multifaceted examination of the incident would take place.

However, Shirak Provincial Court President Edvard Manukyan responded that handing over the case to the Russian side was impossible given that according to Article 498 of Armenia’s Criminal Procedure Code the case was subject to the jurisdiction of the Shirak Provincial Court.

It was only after this response by the president of the Shirak Provincial Court that Russia’s military prosecutor handed over the two volumes of case materials to Edvard Manukyan.

In the case files is a letter written by defendant Denis Popov requesting a meeting with Russia’s Consular General.  

Familiarizing myself with the case materials, I noted that in comparison to similar criminal cases that took place in the 1990s, there were many photos (around forty) taken at the crime site, of physical evidence and at the examination of the corpses.

Denis Popov during the case investigation

Another interesting fact is that the two Russian soldiers were never handcuffed during the case investigation.

Alseksey Kamnyev during the case investigation

Also of note is that the prosecuting attorney only sought 15 and 14 years, and not the death penalty, respectively for Aleksey Kamenev and Denis Popov who had been indicted on ten serious charges according to the criminal codes of both Armenia and Russia. And why the court itself didn’t sentence them to death.

In any event, the court sentenced them as per the demand of the prosecuting attorney. They have since been released from prison.

Top photo: Valery Permyakov, Aleksey Kamnyev, Denis Popov 

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