We had just declared the National Day to Fight for LGBT+ Rights when the court made a new decision in favor of the victims of Shurnukh case. On August 4th, the RA Criminal Court of Appeal recorded that the rights of the victims had been violated by the decision of the investigator. The Criminal Court of Appeal obliged the investigative body to eliminate those violations.
On November 26th, 2018, the investigator conducting the investigation of Shurnukh case made a decision not to prosecute most of the perpetrators who attacked the victims in Shurnukh village on August 3rd. In other words, in addition to the fact that the amnesty law was applied to some perpetrators in Shurnukh case, the investigator decided that other 13 people, who surrounded the victims, cursed them, hit them with stones, hands and feet, and persecuted them, did not commit any crime, they were innocent and did not have to be held responsible.
We think it is clear to everyone that violating the dignity of a person, subjecting them to psychological or physical abuse for discriminatory reasons, should be severely condemned and punished. So we decided to appeal the investigator’s illegal decision.
The prosecutor and the First Instance Court of Syunik region examined the complaints of the persecuted party and found there was no violation of the rights of the victims, thus they rejected the complaints. However, the Criminal Court of Appeal examined the case in detail and concluded that the investigator had not conducted a proper investigation, the investigator was in a hurry, and made an unreasonable decision.
The Criminal Court of Appeal referred to the facts of severe mental suffering of the victims and the discriminative motive of the crime, and noted that the investigator had failed to conduct the investigation properly.
Previously, the court had stated in another decision that the investigative body violated the rights of the victims when it dismissed the criminal case, and applied the amnesty law to the perpetrators. Therefore this decision of the Criminal Court of Appeal reaffirmed that the investigation of Surnukh case is carried out biased, and the motive of a crime (hatred against sexual orientation and gender identity of the victims) is completely ignored and not examined.
We hope that this decision will finally force the investigation body to resume the preliminary investigation and to start examining the real motive of the crime.
The case: on August 3rd, 2018, a group of young people, including LGBT activists were subjected to a violent attack in Shurnukh village by some 30 people because of their biased motivation and intolerance.