Levon Ter Petrosian’s Wednesday article in the Washington Post smacks of amnesia. The election fraud “script” he refers to was originally written and implemented by him in the mid-1990s. When the electorate protested he also had them beaten with impunity. Of course, the West was also silent then because he was their favored candidate.
Before the West allows itself to be goaded into intervening in Armenia, it should remember two things.
First, most Armenia’s see the current conflict as a high stakes feud between two personalities and their respective cohorts, each supported by a different cold war power. Ter Petrosian is seeking personal vengeance for having been ousted in the same way that he is now trying to oust Sarkisian. The feud is personal, and the political interests foreign.
Neither side can be credited with having Armenia’s best interests at heart. Second, the dispute is currently pending before the Armenian courts, and for all of its talk of “rule of law,” the West is charged to respect that legal process. The new Judicial Code provides for a system of precedent and the direct application of the judicial decisions of the European Court of Human Rights. This means that there is a real chance for the development of Armenian jurisprudence, so long as the courts are given the opportunity to hear and decide disputes.
For the moment, political intervention on behalf of either side will thwart the legal process, undermining what the West always says it values: judicial due process.
Vahan Bournazian is an attorney licensed in California and a resident of Yerevan.