24.03.2020 | On the fact of the destruction of the 19th century winepress during construction in the territory of “Dalma Gardens”, the Prosecutor of Yerevan turned to the heads of the competent authorities

Within the framework of the preliminary investigation of the criminal case initiated on 16.12.019. on the grounds of a crime envisaged by Part 1 of Article 264 of the RA Criminal Code on the fact of causing damage to the monuments by the organization carrying out construction works in the territory of “Dalma Gardens” in Yerevan, it was found out that during construction works carried out by the LLC in the territory near M. Melkonyan Street, the winepress was destroyed. Taking into account that the winepress was not included in the state list of immovable historical and cultural monuments of Yerevan city, approved by the relevant decision of the RA Government, on 29.02.2020 the body conducting the proceedings made a decision to terminate the criminal proceedings on the basis of the absence of corpus delicti.


In the course of studying the documents available in the materials of the criminal case, it was found out that on the basis of the decision of the RA Government dated 11.01.2018 “On approval of investment programs and provision of LLC a land plot without tenders” by the decision of the elders of Yerevan and the mayor of Yerevan, the intended purpose of the land plots of the forest fund with an area of 27.66 ha. by the address: Yerevan, M. Melkonyan 31 was changed to the intended purpose of the land plots of specially protected territories. And for the construction of youth, family, recreation centers, the land plot was transferred for rent to LLC for a period of 99 years, then, on the basis of the drawn up positive conclusions, construction permits were given by the mayor of Yerevan.


Until 06.02.2020 according to the letters presented by the competent bodies, data of the state expert conclusion on the environmental impact, there were no monuments and protection zones in the indicated territory.


Meanwhile, during that time, as a result of studies carried out by employees of the Scientific Research Center of the Historical and Cultural Heritage SNCO of the RA Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport, objects of historical and cultural value were identified, the state registration documents of which were compiled and presented to the ministry.


A recently discovered group of monuments, which included 7 historical and cultural units, a wine cellar and a 19th-century press, was given republican status by the export commission of the ministry.


Thus, in the course of the preliminary investigation it was found out that in the territory near M. Melkonyan street there were objects of historical and cultural value, which later received the status of monuments, including the wine press. The latter were not identified in the processes of changing the intended purpose of the land plot in the specified territory, leasing, and giving permit for construction, most probably because of improper observation, or despite the fact that they were identified, but since they were not included in the list of historical cultural monuments, it was stated that there were no monuments in the territory. The possible historical and cultural value of these objects was not taken into account, the question of their study, giving the corresponding status was not raised.


Thus, due to the fact that immovable monuments of historical and cultural value were not identified by the competent body on time, during the construction works the winepress was destroyed, which clearly could be one of the monuments of local importance.


On the basis of the above mentioned, the Prosecutor of Yerevan G. Baghdasaryan sent a petition to the Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of the Republic of Armenia A. Harutyunyan and the Mayor of Yerevan H. Marutyan to find out in the course of the studies the circumstance of the violation by relevant officials. The petition also included the issue of the need to find out and register objects of historical and cultural value, to consider the regulation of the protection field, in order to ensure that objects that have the value of the monument are identified and that they are given appropriate status with a view to prevent possible damage caused to such objects.