YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Three high-ranking officers of Armenia’s police and National Security Service (NSS) have been dismissed following the two-week standoff with gunmen that seized a police compound in Yerevan to demand President Serzh Sarkisian’s resignation.
They include Hrant Yepiskoposian, the NSS’s first deputy director, and Mnatsakan Marukian, who headed the NSS’s powerful Investigative Department.
Yepiskoposian was sacked by a presidential decree on Thursday. Sarkisian’s office gave no reason for the dismissal.
An NSS spokesman told the Armenpress news agency Marukian has retired and been replaced by his first deputy, Mikael Hambardzumian.
The official, Samson Galstian, would not say whether the personnel change was connected with the July 17 seizure of the police compound in Yerevan’s Erebuni district by armed members of a radical opposition group, Founding Parliament.
The other sacked officer, Gevorg Hakobian, ran Erebuni’s police department. Its headquarters is adjacent to the seized compound that housed a police regiment tasked with crowd control and street patrols. The regiment is technically not subordinate to the Erebuni police.
Meanwhile, Armenia’s Prosecutor-General Gevorg Kostanian unexpectedly stepped down on Thursday, citing health reasons.
Kostanian’s press secretary, Kristine Melkonian, said he informed other senior prosecutors about the resignation at a meeting held at the Office of the Prosecutor-General in Yerevan. She said Kostanian told them that he decided to quit “because of health problems” and that President Serzh Sarkisian has accepted his resignation.
In a Facebook post, Melkonian did not specify those problems.
Sarkisian’s spokesman, Vladimir Hakobian, confirmed the surprise move. “I am confident that after Mr. Kostanian’s health problems are solved, his capabilities will again be used for addressing state issues,” he told 168.am.
Kostanian became prosecutor-general at the age of 35 almost three years ago. His candidacy for the post was nominated by Sarkisian and approved by the Armenian parliament.
Kostanian had previously served as Armenia’s chief military prosecutor, a deputy minister of justice and a legal assistant to Sarkisian.
The law-enforcement authorities’ failure to prevent the Erebuni attack raised questions among Armenian media commentators and analysts.
A police spokesman gave no reason for Hakobian’s sacking when he reported it late on Wednesday.