Kocharian’s Attorneys Say He is Innocent

Former president Robert Kocharian's attorney from left Ruben Sahakyan and Aram Orbelyan and his spokesperson Viktor Soghomonyan during a press conference on Saturday
Former president Robert Kocharian's attorney from left Ruben Sahakyan and Aram Orbelyan and his spokesperson Viktor Soghomonyan during a press conference on Saturday

Former president Robert Kocharian’s attorney from left Ruben Sahakyan and Aram Orbelyan and his spokesperson Viktor Soghomonyan during a press conference on Saturday

YEREVAN—Attorneys for former president Robert Kocharian, who was arrested and remanded into custody Friday on charges of breaching Armenia’s Constitutional order, said during a press conference on Saturday at Erebuni Plaza that their client was innocent and the case against him does not make sense.

One of his attorneys, Ruben Sahakyan said during the press conference that the case against Kocharian was “legally illiterate,” adding that it was a directive. He, however, did not elaborate as to from where the so-called directive was emanating.
“It was clear that this was a directive that needed to be carried out,” Sahakyab said. “Who is the directive from? Naturally, I can’t say. I can assume, [but] to voice [it]—no. I believe the [real] culprits can be found the Prosecutor General’s Office, [and] the Armenia’s Special Inestigative Service.”

Another attorney, Aram Orbelyan, said the criminal case launched against Kocharian is not well developed.

“We cannot understand the charges brought against Kocharian. The material presented [to us] contain no proof. I am unable to understand the charge, there are some facts, then comes the Article 300.1 [breaching the constitutional order]. I cannot understand the specifics of the criminal offense so that we can defend or not to defend him. I cannot understand whether he is accused of using the army or declaring state of emergency. There is no concrete charge for us to assess whether it is a crime or not,”,Orbelyan said adding that the entire process is illegal.
Viktor Soghomonyan, Kocharian’s spokesperson said that the former president would be released soon.

“We haven’t committed any wrongdoing, Kocharyan has no sense of guilt. He returned to Armenia with a clear conscience, he didn’t avoid any of the processes,” said Soghomonyan.
Kocharian was called into the SIS for questioning on Thursday and when he showed up he was officially charged with colluding with others to breach Armenia’s Constitutional order. After a lengthy arraignment hearing Friday, he was arrested and remanded into pre-trial custody, where he will remain for two months.

In an unprecedented interview with Yerkir Media on Thursday Kocharian vowed that he will fight the charges “to the end,” calling them a politically motivated “vendetta.”

“I will go. I will sit [in jail] but I will fight this until the end,” a visibly shaken Kocharian told Yerkir Media’s Gegham Manoukyan in an exclusive interview that aired on the channel Thursday evening.

During the more than 47-minute interview, during which he continuously repeated himself, Kocharian called the charges a “political vendetta” by the current regime, saying “they have already determined who the guilty parties are and are searching for ways to make the charges stick.”

“When I see that people are skilled at inventing such fabrications, I realize that for them nothing is sacred. They are capable of anything,” said Kocharian who called the entire episode “judicial surrealism” and warned that it will have a lasting impact on Armenia and its judiciary.

Also charged with “breach of Constitutional Order” was Yuri Khachaturov, who during the March 1 events was head of the internal security forces, and currently serves as the executive director of the Collective Security Treaty Organization—the post-Soviet regional security group, of which Armenia is a member.

Khachaturov was also arrested Friday. He was released after posting a 5 million dram (approximately $10,000) bail.

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 at the time 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.

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7 Comments

  1. State of Emergency said:

    Of course, what else would a defense attorney say! Later, when the charges stick, the attorneys will start talking about appeals. Slowly, they wind down their rhetoric and laugh all the way to the bank. In the meantime, the pigeon in the cell will complain about incompetent counsel and injustice. End of story.

  2. Norin said:

    The ARF needs to be careful and not be on the wrong side of history again. Robert Kocharyan became President of Armenia coming from modest beginnings. In a span of 8-10 years accumulated vast wealth, enriched himself via state coffers and interest conflicting private deals in which state institutions were used for private gains. His Karabakh negotiations were luke warm at best with simply continuing the status quo. Today his family including his sons and in laws enjoy a lavish jet setting lifestyle directly as a result of looting Armenia’s budget and as a consequence, screwing the average Armenian citizen’s standard of living. To also claim that he was not aware of the military suppression of Armenian citizens which caused the death of 10 Armenians is sheer lies. ALL of his families assets needs to be frozen because they do not belong to the Kocharyans, they belong to the Armenian people and the Armenian State. ALL foreign assets need to be investigated and the relevant government entities of foreign states and INTERPOL notified of seizure and repatriation of Armenia’s assets. I challenge anyone to logically explain how this man and his family went from “lowly Albanaci” to the level of financial success they benefits from today? Show the people the natural progression of financial growth, innovation, and legitimate business tactics to explain this criminals and his criminal family’s gains. Gyumri is still in shambles after 20 years while Robert Kocharyan’s sons go on Africa hunting safaris and fly around Greece and Europe on vacation after vacation. How did this extraordinary financial sucesss emerge? SHOW US, what did you and your family do to earn this? Or was it simply another monopolizing scam like the banks from which you siphone percentages of the deposits? Or the national cellular network and calling cards which your son monopolized?

    The Piper is coming and his tune is that of the people’s vengeance!!!!!

    • Victor said:

      While Kocharyan is not being charged with illegal means of obtaining wealth, he (like anyone facing any accusation in a civilized country) deserves a fair trial, not “vendetta”.

      • Gohar said:

        Victor, there is no vendetta against him. It would have been a vendetta if the relatives of the victims of March 1 took matters into their own hands in the course of 10 years when justice was out of reach for those people! This guy (Qoch) should have faced a trial a long time ago but better late than never.

  3. Edward Demiraiakian said:

    Of course he is innocent. Until proven guilty by a jury of his peers in a court of Law. That’s justice. Anything else ia travesty. Let the best law minds of Armenia develop a legal sysyem free of political influence, and free of graft.

  4. Jewel said:

    Edward we know that you KNOW the LAW.
    Do yourself a favor visit Armenia and rendomly ask people on the street -what they know, think, feel about robert, who deserves only lower case fonts “Until proven guilty by a jury of his peers in a court of Law.”

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