Chief of General Staff of the Armenian Armed Forces Formally Dismissed

Onik Gasparyan

By Varak Ghazarian

On March 10, the Armenian government issued a statement regarding the dismissal of Onik Gasparyan from his post as Chief of the General Staff of the Armenian Armed Forces.

“Taking into account the fact that the President of the Republic did not sign the draft submitted by the Prime Minister and did not apply to the Constitutional Court within the timeframe outlined in Section 3 of Article 35.1 of the Law on Military Service and Status of Servicemen, and based on Section 3 of Article 139 of the Constitution, as well as Section 6 of Article 35.1 of the Law on Military Service and Status of Servicemen and Section 3 of Article 40 of the same Law: Chief of the General Staff of the Armenian Armed Forces, Onik Gasparyan, has been legally dismissed from his position as of March 10, 2021,” the statement reads.

Gasparyan responded to his dismissal with a statement, announcing that his “position remains unchanged.” He added that “both the published statement and the entire process of dismissal are unconstitutional, which, once again, confirms that a patriotic solution to the current crisis can only be ensured as a result of the resignation of the Prime Minister of the Republic and early parliamentary elections.”

“In order to ensure the supremacy of the Constitution and law in the Republic of Armenia and to exercise force exclusively based on law, I applied to the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Armenia,” he stated.

Gasparyan finished stating that he “will continue my service to the homeland and the Armenian people in a different status.”

Head of the Information Department of the Administrative Staff of the General Staff of the Armenian Armed Forces, Colonel Samvel Asatryan, reaffirmed Gasparyan’s statement. He stated that “there is only one solution to the existing situation” and is the one mentioned by Gasparyan regarding the resignation of the Prime Minister of the Republic and hosting early parliamentary elections.

With the formal dismissal of Gasparyan, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has submitted a motion to the president to appoint Artak Davtyan as new Chief of the General Staff of the Armenian Armed Forces. 

Artak Davtyan held the position of chief of the general of staff from 2018-2020. On July 16, 2020, he was appointed chairman of the Military Industry Committee by Pashinyan, and on November 11, he was relieved of this position.

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On February 25, Onik Gasparyan, General Staff of the Armenian Armed Forces issued a statement demanding the resignation of the Armenian prime minister. Following the announcement, the prime minister submitted a proposal to the president on the same day to dismiss Gasparyan from his post. 

On February 27, the President Armen Sarkissian sent back the mentioned draft with his objections. The prime minister did not accept the objections presented by the president, and on February 28, a letter was sent to the president with the relevant justifications.

On March 2, the presidential administration reported that Armen Sarkissian decided not to sign the decree drafting releasing Onik Gasparyan from his post. The following day, Sarkissian met with Onik Gasparyan to discuss his dismissal and the country’s current situation.