Reconsidering what I learned in law school

Already last Thursday, Armenia Liberty published an article which I didn’t get to read until now, due to what I call a “general running around” (read: I was too busy). It is the latest chapter in an ongoing story of three army conscripts facing a very stiff prison sentence for allegedly killing two fellow conscripts in Kharabagh in 2003. However, there are very strong indications that these guys are forced to take the blame of a crime their commander committed.

Apart from the astonishing ease with which the lives of three innocent guys seem to have been sacrificed to save their superior’s ass, I was struck by the following passages:

Anahit Yeghiazarian, the trial prosecutor, argued in a court speech on April 18 that Sargsian [one of the conscripts on trial, MK] could not have been severely beaten up as he himself had written his self-incriminating testimony with a “nice and neat handwriting.”

Writing in a “nice and neat handwriting” seems like enough proof to me that someone wasn’t beaten up…Sure. But she goes on:

Yeghiazarian added that the court should take into account not only factual evidence but also her and other prosecutors’ personal beliefs. “I am guided not only by evidence but also by my internal conviction,” she declared.

I distinctly remember from my own law studies that this is exactly what a judge is NOT supposed to do: take his personal feelings or those of lawyers and prosecutors into account when taking a decision. I always really thought a judge was to take a decision solely base on factual evidence. I guess I have to reconsider what I learned in university…

There’s a lot more to this case than what I mentioned here. Armenia Now provides more background here, here, here and here. Last Thursday’s article from Armenia Liberty can be read here.

[edited to delete dead links]