The previous government has destroyed classified national security documents on the eve of the Velvet Revolution, said Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan during a press conference on Wednesday, convened to mark the one-year anniversary of his election to prime minister following a popular movement that toppled the Serzh Sarkisian regime.
Pashinyan was asked to elaborate on this statement during a meeting in parliament, where Arman Babajanyan, a member of the opposition Bright Armenia party pressed the leader for further explanations on the explosive revelation.
Pashinyan, who also announced that a special investigation into the alleged incident was already underway, saying that his government discovered the misappropriation of documents sometime last summer, months after assuming power.
Pashinyan said the destroyed documents concerned a wide circle of persons and events.
“We thought we shouldn’t publicly address this delicate issue, but since questions are addressed to the government that indirectly concern this subject, for example whether or not the National Security Service knows what happened in March 1  and how, we understand that we should somehow respond to this. And we decided to voice this issue in order for the public to be informed about what is happening,” Pashinyan said, adding that it would even be wrong to say that the materials have been destroyed, they are simply “missing.”
Pashinyan said that the internal investigation will assess the situation and did not rule out criminal charges.
Babajanyan pressed Pashinyan about whether the said documents were related to the March 1, 2008 incidents, during which eight civilians and two police officers were killed in a standoff between protesters and security officials.
“The fact that the documents concern a large-scale matter is obvious encompassing both indivuals and events. In certain cases there are pieces of the documents left behind, and by following them we understand that the material itself is missing,” Pashinyan said, adding that similar cases have been discovered during the investigation.