Second Karabakh war commander charged with negligence

By Mark Dovich

Armenia’s Investigative Committee filed criminal charges of “negligence” on Friday against Jalal Harutyunyan, who commanded the Karabakh army for the first month of the 2020 war. Harutyunyan was suspended from his current position, a senior role at Armenia’s Defense Ministry, after the charges were announced.

The Investigative Committee’s indictment alleges Harutyunyan’s negligence “caused serious consequences: (our) own units suffered large losses of manpower and military equipment, the reserve units lost their combat ability, and the firing positions they held came under the adversary’s control.”

On Wednesday, the Investigative Committee brought the same charge against Mikayel Arzumanyan, who took over for Harutyunyan as the commander of the Karabakh army after the latter was wounded in battle.

Arzumanyan, who currently serves as an advisor to Karabakh President Arayik Harutyunyan (no relation to Jalal), was detained the same day, immediately after entering Armenia from Karabakh. He remains in detention in Armenia, where he faces up to 13 years in prison if convicted.

In its filing for Arzumanyan, the Investigative Committee specified that the alleged negligence was related to the bloody Battle of Shushi, which took place toward the end of the war and saw Azerbaijan take control of the strategically located city.

The next day, the Investigative Committee announced it had filed an additional charge of abuse of power against Arzumanyan.

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