YEREVAN — The army not only participated in quelling post-election protests in Armenia in 2008, but also fired at people and residential buildings, a top Armenian investigator insisted on Tuesday, referring to special army units allegedly formed by former authorities for the purpose.

Sasun Khachatrian, the head of the Special Investigative Service (SSS), held a joint press conference with Director of the National Security Service (NSS) Artur Vanetsian.

Foremr president Robert Kocharian and several other senior former officials are accused of breaching the constitution by ordering the use of the army to quell opposition protests in the wake of a disputed presidential election in 2008. Ten people, including two security officers, were killed in the violence.

The investigation of the events conducted during the 10-year presidency of Serzh Sarkisian, Kocharian’s longtime ally and hand-picked successor, revealed no one who could be charged in connection with the killings.

At today’s press conference SIS head Khachatrian disclosed some details of the investigation, arguing that investigators have proof of the army’s involvement in the events.

“Our investigation has already established that the army not only participated in the events of March 1-2, 2008, but also fired in the direction of people, apartments, that is, the army fully participated in these actions. Secondly, I want to disclose more details that I frankly did not want to do, but today there is an occasion for that and the public should know it. After the secret order when it was decided to gather servicemen from different military units in Yerevan, soldiers were in service at border posts without shifts, as a result a very dangerous situation was created, and you know that there was an [Azerbaijani commando] raid,” Khachatrian said.

According to the top investigator, the most disgraceful thing that happened to the army during those days was that the country’s then leaders “turned soldier into mercenaries and used them against the people.”

“Within the framework of the criminal case it has already been established that in the period after February 23, [2008] and until March 7-8, [2008] oligarchs gave money to soldiers to protect them, their property, their political aspirations,” the SIS head said.

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