A parliamentary commission formed by the National Assembly of Armenia started hearings on the circumstances surrounding the April 2016 four-day war to clear all the questions that remained unanswered over the past three years.
On April 2, 2016, the Azerbaijani armed forces launched a surprise attack on the Karabakh fronts and were able to advance to new positions. After some initial loses, the Armenian forces took the initiative and repealed the Azeri army. All political factions supported the war effort and thousands of volunteers rushed to the border to help protect the homeland. The war ended on April 6, when a cease-fire agreement was signed in Moscow by the commanders of the armed forces of the two countries.
During the war, the Armenian side lost more than one hundred soldiers, most of them young conscripts. After the ceasefire, then President Serzh Sargsyan stated that Azerbaijan side was able to control 800 hectares of land. He also made another remarkable statement saying, “despite the fact that the Armenian forces fought with the eighties weaponry, they succeeded in defeating the enemy”.
During the days and weeks following the war, various public pronouncements and media reports claimed that during the first few hours of the Azeri attack the Armenian soldiers were not given orders to shoot, many armored vehicles did not have fuel in their tanks, the soldiers on the frontlines lacked sufficient quantities of ammunition and so on. All these questions remained, as they say in Armenia, “hanging in the air”. Why the Armenian army had to fight with the eighties weapons, this question also remained unanswered.
The former government gave no public explanations to these and many other vital questions. Now that the new authorities are taking steps in this direction, the former ruling party members, the Kocharian supporters and others are arguing that such hearings will only serve the enemy and weaken the Armenian position. However, any self-respecting state and government had to have initiated such investigations right after the war, to evaluate the shortcomings and make recommendations, so that the same mistakes are not repeated in the future.
As far as secrets being exposed, the parliamentary commission has already announced that most of the hearings will be held behind closed doors and the public will be informed about its outcome later in the process.
Investigating the April four-day war and learning lessons from its failings is the least that can be done. Armenia owes it to its brave soldiers who have sacrificed their lives defending the homeland.