Representatives of state governing bodies, different institutions and non-governmental organizations took part in the discussion.
Welcoming the participants, the Human Rights Defender of Armenia Ms. Kristinne Grigoryan thanked the participants, and suggested that the first part of the discussion to be dedicated to the cases of torture of Armenian prisoners of war and civilian captives during and after the 44-day war, related international legal proceedings, and the state assistance given to the victims of torture and their family members.
The Defender stressed that the state support provided to victims of torture and their family members is primarily reactive and intuitive, and is not on an objective and professional assessment of each person's problems and needs.
Within the framework of the mentioned topic, Mr. Hrant Jilavyan, the Head of Department General for Human Rights Protection in the Criminal Justice and Armed Forces, gave a speech where he presented the cases of torture and war crimes committed by Azerbaijan during the Artsakh war of 2020, registered by the monitoring and fact-finding activities of the Office of the Human Rights Defender. The information on the ongoing torture, degrading treatment, and ill-treatment of our captive compatriots based on religious and ethnic hatred was presented.
The process and issues of the work done by the Office of the Defender on international platforms were also presented.
Reports were presented by Mr. Yeghishe Kirakosyan, the Representative of the Republic of Armenia on international legal matters, and by Mr. Rafael Vardanyan, the Head of the General Department of Investigation of Particularly Important Cases of the General Military Investigative Department of the Investigative Committee. The representatives of the civil society detailed the activities conducted by their organizations. The issues related to the re-inclusion of servicemen who have returned from captivity back in the military service without professional assessments, and in certain cases, the use of detention as a method of restraint were also discussed.
During the second phase of the discussion, issues related to the investigation of torture and ill-treatment in Armenia, and issues related to the assistance of victims were deliberated.
Ms. Laura Gasparyan, the Coordinator of the National Preventive Mechanism Implementation - Head of Department for Prevention of Torture and Ill-Treatment, gave a detailed speech about that topic, and presented the conclusions of the Office of the Human Rights Defender, which are based on the conducted monitoring activities.
A separate report was presented by Senior Prosecutor of the Department of Supervision over Legality of Pre-trial Proceedings in the RA NSS at the Prosecutor General's Office of the Republic of Armenia Mr. Hayk Movsisyan, the Chairperson of Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly-Vanadzor Mr. Artur Sakunts, and the Head of programs of the Armenian Rehabilitation Center of Torture Survivors Ms. Isabel Levonyan.
Deputy Minister of Health Mr. Armen Nazaryan presented the work done to solve the problems registered in psychiatric institutions, and presented a proposal for cooperation with the relevant specialized department of the Office of the Human Rights Defender.
The participants acknowledged that the implementation of assistance to victims of torture at the domestic level is the positive responsibility of the state, and that currently, the institutional response mechanisms are deficient.
Concluding the meeting, agreements on joint actions were reached between the various state bodies, the civil society organizations, and the Office of the Human Rights defender of Armenia.