Chief Investigator Sheds Light on Kocharian Arrest

Head of Armenia's Special Investigative Service Sasun Khachatryan
Head of Armenia's Special Investigative Service Sasun Khachatryan

Head of Armenia’s Special Investigative Service Sasun Khachatryan

YEREVAN—The head of the Special Investigative Service of Armenia, Sasun Khachatryan on Thursday shed more light on the indictment and subsequent arrest of former president Robert Kocharian, who on July 27 was remanded into custody on the charge of “breaching Armenia’s Constitutional order” in relation to the deaths of eight civilian and two police officers on March 1, 2008 during post-election protests in Yerevan.

“Our indictment is so clear, concrete and well-founded that I cannot understand why the defense attorneys are attempting to manipulate it,” Khachatryan told reporters.

“Robert Kocharian has been charged for violently breaching the constitutional order. His involving the army [during the March 1, 2008 events] served as a basis for the indictment. The involvement of the Armed Forces in the political processes is prohibited by both the previous and current versions of the Constitution,” elaborated Khachatryan.

The chief investigator also explained to reporters that new evidence in case prompted the SIS to charge Kocharian, who on July 26 was expected to be interrogated surrounding the March 1, 2008 events.

Head of the Special Investigation Service Sasun Khachatryan commented on why 2nd President of Armenia Robert Kocharyan has been invited for questioning over the 2008 March 1 case as a witness, but then he was questioned in the status of defendant, reports Armenpress.

“Criminal proceedings are a dynamic process, in other word, evidence is constantly being collected every day and every hour, event every second,” said Khachatryan who said the status of a person can change from a mere witness to an active suspect based on the evidence present at the time of the interrogation. He added that there is no legal stipulation requiring the SIS to inform an individual of a change in his/her status.

Khachatryan also said that Kocharian’s defense team have not disputed the constitutional provision, for the violation of which Kocharian was indicted.

He explained that remanding Kocharian was necessary in order to conduct a thorough investigation.
“The precautionary measure was chosen based on the necessity to ensure the proper behavior of the suspect or defendant during an ongoing investigation. There is a misinterpretation among the public that ensuring proper conduct is simply to rule out the possibility that the suspect is a flight risk. But they forget the second more important fact, which is to prevent a suspect from illegal influencing others involved in the proceedings. Therefore, I think that remanding Robert Kocharian into custody is necessary so that we can thoroughly conduct our investigation,” said Khachatryan.

The chief investigator also dispelled critics’ assertions that his team had questioned the results of the 2008 elections as a contributing factor for the indictment.

“We are not questioning the [2008] election results. We have just stated that citizens who had deemed the election results to be falsified took to the streets to protest and restore their rights,” added Khachatryan.

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