New President of Artsakh Samvel Shahramanyan

YEREVAN — An Armenian parliament commission probing the 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh has invited NKR last president Samvel Shahramanyan to testify before its members, the ad hoc body’s head has told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service.

Andranik Kocharyan said they were now waiting for Shahramanyan’s response to the invitation.

“We sent the invitation letter to the representative headquarters of Artsakh a short while ago and are waiting for him at the commission,” he said.

Late last week Kocharyan said that the parliamentary commission investigating the circumstances of the 44-day war had intended to invite the former president of Nagorno-Karabakh Arayik Harutyunyan, who, however, is in a Baku prison now after being arrested by Azerbaijani authorities in October, some two weeks after a lightening one-day offensive by Azerbaijani forces caused the forced exodus of virtually all Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh.

He said that the commission also intended to invite Jalal Harutyunyan (no relation to the former Nagorno-Karabakh leader) who led the Karabakh defense army during most of the 2020 war, but the latter is now facing criminal charges as part of a war-related investigation, which according to Kocharyan is an obstacle to his appearing before the commission.

Kocharyan said that instead they decided to get answers to a number of questions from the last president of Nagorno-Karabakh, Shahramanyan, who was elected by the region’s parliament on September 9, only ten days before Azerbaijan’s latest military operation.

Shahramanyan signed a decree on September 28 disbanding the yNagorno-Karabakh Republicy from January 1, 2024, which he later hinted was done under pressure from Azerbaijan to allow a safe escape for the local Armenian population to Armenia.

“Naturally, we would like to hear from Mr. Shahramanyan answers to the questions related to claims of high treason, the existence of saboteurs and information that was available before the start of the war,” the head of the commission said.

During the 2020 war Shahramanyan, who has a rank of major general, served as a minister in Nagorno-Karabakh’s government in charge of military patriotic upbringing, youth, sports and tourism. Before that he served for three years as director of Nagorno-Karabakh’s National Security Service.

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