Law 15:22 04/08/2016 Armenia

On ‘special means’ used by the police

As a result of the application of special means by the police in the evening of July 29 in Sari Tagh neighbourhood, a young boy lost his eye, several others received burns and dozens were injured. wrote a letter to the Police asking what kind of special means police applied against the demonstrators, in what cases their application is permitted by the legislation and who gave the order for their application.

The answer of the Police arrived a day later.

“In response to your inquiry of August 1, 2016, we inform that the bases, limits and conditions of using special means by police officers are defined by Articles 29 and 31 of the RA Law on the police.
Regarding the remaining questions, the Internal Security Police Department has launched an investigation. Therefore, relevant information will be published after the investigation”.

One of the doctors who had provided the injured with medical aid told reporters that he couldn’t determine the nature of the wounds, as it wasn’t clear what type of special means could inflict them. The Ministry of Health of Armenia told  that they hadn’t asked the Police concerning the issue.

Instead, the Ministry pointed out the Article 31 of the Law on police defining the time and circumstances the police has the right to apply such means.

One of the points of that very article states; “The application of special means against women with visible signs of pregnancy, disabled and underage persons is forbidden (except when they organize an armed attack, armed resistance and group attacks endangering the lives and health of people).” Sayat Harutyunyan, who has lost his eye, is still 16.

The very article also prohibits involvement of police armament, which, according to their tactical nature can cause severe damage to human health or cause irreversible changes in the human body or cause death.

The Ministry of Health noted that according to Article 31 of the law on Police, the list of special means included in the police armament, as well as the procedure of including, removing and destroying them from the armament is determined by the government of the Republic of Armenia (N 867-N RA Government decision of June 23, 2011).

The same article authorizes the Minister of Health to issue an order (09-N, April 20, 2012) determining the criteria of the special means applied on people based on the technical regulations of special means introduced by the police.

A video was released yesterday, showing one of those special means used by the police, found by Sari Tagh neighbourhood residents. Due to inquiries, it was found out that the object was a ‘Fakel’ hand grenade. (Photo taken from the video.)

According to the order of the Health Minister, the impact diameter of the hand grenade should be no more than 20m, it should only be launched in an open area, at least 2.5m far from people. The sound pressure level should be no more than 145 decibels on 10m.

It should be noted that in the description it was stated that double application of those means in the same area against armed people, who threaten the lives of others, is forbidden.

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