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PACE Officials Critical Of Armenian Parliament Report

An election protester in Yerevan in March 2008

An election protester in Yerevan in March 2008

A Council of Europe deputy says officials monitoring the political situation in Armenia have criticized an Armenian parliamentary report defending the use of deadly force against opposition protesters after last year's disputed presidential election, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

John Prescott and Georges Colombier, the two Armenia rapporteurs of the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly (PACE), did not attend the last meeting of PACE's Monitoring Committee held in Paris on December 17.

Citing their absence, the committee delayed a planned discussion of the Armenian authorities' compliance with PACE resolutions adopted after the February 2008 vote.

Armen Rustamian, a member of the Armenian delegation at the Strasbourg-based assembly, said on December 21 that Prescott and Colombier submitted a 20-page report that deals, among other things, with the findings of an ad hoc Armenian parliamentary commission which investigated the March 2008 clashes between security forces and opposition demonstrators.

In a 138-page report submitted to the National Assembly in September, the commission dominated by pro-government lawmakers concluded that the breakup of the postelection protests, which left 10 people dead, was "by and large legitimate and adequate."

According to Rustamian, Prescott and Colombier disagree with that conclusion.

He told RFE/RL that "They believe it is at least amazing to say, after noting all that, that [the use of force] was legitimate and adequate."