This week Armenia marked the 11th anniversary of the awful events of March 1, 2008 that took placed in the capital city of Yerevan. The violent crackdown against peaceful demonstrators protesting the results of the presidential elections, took the lives of ten innocent victims. Over the past decade the relatives of those who were killed and the people of Armenia generally, managed to keep their memories alive, always believing that those who ordered the shootings of unarmed citizens will sooner or later be brought to justice.
This year, for the first time ever, the tragic events of March 1st, were commemorated on a governmental level. On this occasion the Prime Minister of the country, on behalf of the nation, apologized to the victims and those who had suffered during the past decades.
The high ranking figures who played key roles during the events of March 1st are now sitting on the chairs of the defendants and awaiting trials which are expected to begin in the coming months.
In the past 10 years, the former regime has not taken any meaningful steps to conduct a fair investigation. On the contrary, every effort was made to hide the truth, distort the facts, and erase the whole matter from the memory of the people. The prevailing view among most people was, that the events surrounding “March 1st” could be uncovered only if there was a change of power in Armenia.
The former leaders of the country always believed that their regime was eternal and that no power was capable in shaking them from their positions. But, once again the will of the people was much stronger than anyone expected. Overcoming all odds, last May the long-awaited change of power in Armenia was achieved through a peaceful revolution.
This year, “March 1st” has a varying meaning for the citizens of Armenia. With the mourning for the victims, there is also the satisfaction that those who sacrificed their lives on the streets of Yerevan, did not die in vain.
We believe that the defendants who are accused of orchestrating the events of March 1st will be extended all the protections and rights for a fair and just trial. It is vitally important that court proceedings and judgments not to be questioned neither internally nor by the outside world. Only then, it will be possible to close the sad page of “March 1st” and make it part of our history, at the same time hoping that from now on our country will never face similar tragedies.