YEREVAN — The Armenian government on Thursday approved the form and amount of providing assistance to families of victims of the 2008 post-election violence in Yerevan. In doing so, the executive pointedly avoided the word “compensation” in its formal resolution.
The decision stems from the law unanimously passed by the Armenian parliament on June 4.
At Thursday’s cabinet session Justice Minister Rustam Badasyan said that the families of 10 people killed in the protests will receive 30 million drams (about $63,000) each, those who were seriously injured will get pecuniary aid in the amount of 15 million (about $31,500) and those who incurred harm to their health of medium gravity will be paid 5 million drams (over $10,000) in assistance.
He said the assistance will be provided from the state budget. The applications to the Ministry of Justice can be submitted by the eligible successors within three years. He said all the applications will be examined and a decision will be made to provide assistance or refuse it.
According to official data provided by law-enforcement authorities, 63 protesters and police officers sustained “injuries of medium and severe gravity” during the forcible dispersal of opposition demonstrations held in the wake of the February 2008 presidential election.
According to the approved order, however, police officers who are under investigation or have already been convicted of using excessive force against anti-government protesters are not eligible for the aid.
Addressing his cabinet, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said that the approved set of measures in no way implies compensation. “Sorry for the harsh wording, but this does not determine the price of life of an Armenian citizen. This is being formulated as assistance,” the prime minister stressed.
Eight protesters and two police servicemen died after security forces broke up on March 1-2, 2008 opposition protests demanding a rerun of the presidential ballot that it rejected as fraudulent.
Dozens of opposition figures, including Pashinyan, who at that time supported former President Levon Ter-Petrosian, the main challenger of the disputed winner of the presidential election Serzh Sarkisian, were prosecuted and jailed on charges stemming from their alleged roles in the “mass disturbances”.