Former President Kocharian Officially Charged

Former President Robert Kocharian
Former President Robert Kocharian

Former President Robert Kocharian

YEREVAN—Armenia’s Special Investigative Service on Thursday has officially charged Armenia’s former president Robert Kocharian for “breach of Constitutional order” over the events of March 1, 2008, when eight civilians and two police officers were killed during a post presidential-election opposition protest.

The decision comes after Kocharian was questioned by the SIS, cited Article 300-1 of Armenia’s criminal code alleging that Kocharian colluded with others to breach the Constitutional Order of the Republic of Armenia.

The investigators have asked a court to issue an arrest warrant for Kocharian. He is scheduled to be arraigned at 11 a.m. Friday.

Earlier this month, the SIS charged Armenia’s Defense Minister at the time Mikael Harutiunyan with the same offense.

On July 3, SIS charged that on February 23, 2008, Harutiunyan secretly and illegally ordered the army to help enforce the official vote results. Military units began moving in to Yerevan in the following days and were actively engaged in the ensuing crackdown that resulted in the 10 deaths.

The SIS statement said that the “de facto martial law” regime created by the deployment of the army violated constitutional provisions guaranteeing the military’s neutrality.

“A number of high-ranking officials of the acting authorities, including Defense Minister Mikael Harutiunyan, carried out actions aimed at violently breaching the constitutional order in the Republic of Armenia,” read the SIS statement based on which the charges were brought against the 72-year-old Harutiunyan, who served as the Armed Forces chief of staff from 1994 to 2007, before being named defense minister by Kocharian.

This is a developing story.

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