Armenia Seeks Jurisdiction Over Valery Permyakov

GYUMRI — A news report says a Russian soldier accused of killing seven members of a single family in Armenia last month will be tried at Russia’s military base in Armenia.

On February 3, the Russian news agency Interfax cited a source close to the investigation as saying that Permyakov will be tried at the Russian base in the Armenian city of Gyumri, where he was stationed and is now being held.The Interfax news agency said that the court will consider evidence collected not only by Russian investigators but also their Armenian colleagues.

Prosecutor-General Gevorg Kostanian
Prosecutor-General Gevorg Kostanian

Meanwhile, Armenia has formally asked Russia to extradite Permyakov. Prosecutor-General Gevorg Kostanian’s office announced on Tuesday that he has sent a letter to his Russian counterpart, Yury Chayka, saying that the high-profile case should be transferred to Armenian jurisdiction.

The office said Kostanian invoked a 1997 Russian-Armenian treaty regulating the presence of a Russian military base in Armenia. It gave no other details of the letter.

The treaty cited by Kostanian in his letter stipulates that Russian military personnel charged with crimes committed outside their installations in Armenia shall be prosecuted by Armenian authorities. It requires Russian investigators to deal with offenses happening within the military base. The Russians have charged Permyakov with not only multiple murder but also desertion, meaning that the 18-year-old can technically fall under both Russian and Armenian jurisdictions.

Permyakov has been kept under arrest at the Russian base’s Gyumri headquarters ever since being arrested, in still unclear circumstances, 12 hours after a local couple, their daughter, son, daughter-in-law and 2-year-old granddaughter were found dead in their home. The seventh member of the Avetisian family, a 6-month-old baby boy, died of his stab injuries a week later.

Kostanian’s letter means that the Armenian authorities want Permyakov to appear before an Armenian court and to be tried under Armenian law — something which has for weeks been demanded by many residents of Gyumri. The latter believe that a Russian trial would facilitate a cover-up of the gruesome crime.

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