March 14, 2008 - 17:39 AMT PanARMENIAN.Net
- "In the wake of the presidential elections in Armenia on 19 February, a police crackdown against opposition supporters who were peacefully contesting the results left eight dead and dozens injured. A state of emergency was declared on 1 March and media freedom has been restricted," says a European Parliament's
resolution, adopted by 60 votes to 1 with 2 abstentions.
The resolution deplores the loss of life, urges all parties to act responsibly and calls on the authorities to investigate the violence and take other measures.
The International Election Observation Mission stated that the elections were "administered mostly in line with OSCE and Council of Europe commitments and standards" but also identified a number of concerns, in particular concerning the media's commitment to providing impartial information.
In the resolution, Parliament "expresses its concern at recent developments in Armenia" and "calls on all parties to show openness and restraint, to tone down statements and to engage in a constructive and fruitful dialogue aimed at supporting and consolidating the country's democratic institutions".
It also calls "for a prompt, thorough, transparent, independent and impartial investigation of the events of 1 March" and "for all those responsible to be brought to justice and punished for misconduct and criminal acts of violence". The Council and Commission should offer EU assistance to help with the investigation.
The Armenian authorities are asked to lift the state of emergency, restore media freedom and take all measures necessary to ensure a return to normalcy. In addition, they are urged "to release citizens detained for exercising their right of peaceful assembly".
Parliament points out that the EU's Action Plan with Armenia under the European Neighborhood Policy covers the strengthening of democratic structures and the rule of law. In this context, it urges the Commission "to focus its assistance to Armenia on the independence of the judiciary and the training of police and security forces" and calls on the Armenian authorities "to implement swiftly all the remaining recommendations made by the International Election Observation Mission", the EP press service reports.