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Vigilantism in Armenia - 2013

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Publication in USA Armenian Life #1347, E6

Vigilantism in Armenia By C.K. Garabed

The Vehmgericht or secret tribunals of Westphalia, rose during the late medieval period as a reaction to the failure of the authorities to preserve public peace, and suppress crime. The judges were wrapped in profound mystery, and had their secret spies throughout all Germany. Their judgments were final, but no one could discover the executioners of those under sentence of death. Sir Walter Scott, in the novel Anne of Geierstein, has given an account of the Westphalian Fehmgericht, and Hector Berlioz addressed the subject in his unfinished opera, Les Franc-Juges.

What is at issue here is vigilantism, a volunteer committee organized to suppress and punish crime summarily when the processes of law are viewed as inadequate, and therefore, a self-appointed dispenser of justice

In our own time, in the 20th and 21st centuries, vigilante groups have been active, with successful results in many countries including: China, Colombia, El Salvador, Finland, India, Ireland, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Russia, and South Africa.

Will Armenia be next?