Court of Appeals Frees Kocharian from Custody

Former President Robert Kocharian during an interview with Yerkir Media on Thursday after being charged with "breaching Armenia's Constitutional Order"
Former President Robert Kocharian during an interview with Yerkir Media on Thursday after being charged with "breaching Armenia's Constitutional Order"

Former President Robert Kocharian during an interview with Yerkir Media on Thursday after being charged with “breaching Armenia’s Constitutional Order”

YEREVAN—Armenia’s Criminal Court of Appeals on Monday ruled former president Robert Kocharian’s pre-trial custody as unconstitutional and immediately released him overturning a lower court decision, based on which he was remanded into custody after being charged with breaching Armenia’s constitutional order in connection with the March 1, 2008 post-elect standoff between protesters and police that resulted in the deaths of eight civilians and two police officers.

“We are satisfied with the court ruling,” said one of Kocharian’s attorneys, Ruben Sahakyan who explained that the ruling was based on article 140 of Armenia’s Constitution which stipulates that “during the term of his or her powers and thereafter, the President of the Republic may not be prosecuted and subjected to liability for actions deriving from his or her status.”

While Kocharian still stands accused of the charges, his attorney Sahakyan did not rule out the possibility that the entire case against Kocharian could be thrown out based on the same constitutional provision.

Robert Kocharian's attorney Ruben Sahakyan

Robert Kocharian’s attorney Ruben Sahakyan speaks to reporters after the Court of Appeal ruling on Monday

Monday’s court ruling did not sit well with the Special Investigative Service, which immediately called it illegal.

“The decision of the Criminal Court of Appeal of the Republic of Armenia is illegal and the court has overstepped its boundaries. We hope the Prosecutor General’s office will file an appeal to the Court of Cassation,” the SIS said in a statement.

The Prosecutor General’s office, which last week had declined an appeal submitted by 46 members of parliament, signaled that after reviewing the entire decision, it will begin a process of appeals. Kocharian’s attorney Sahakyan also said that his team was anticipating an appeal and will form a strategy to fight that in a higher court.

Immediately after being charged on July 26, Kocharian told Yerkir Media in an exclusive interview that the charges were politically motivated and called them a “political vendetta.”

Also charged alongside Kocharian are former Defense Minister Mikael Harutiunyan and former Deputy Defense Minister Yuri Khachaturov. While Harutiunyan has been remanded, Khachaturov was released on bail and allowed to travel to Moscow where he serves as the Secretary-General of the Collective Security Treaty Organization.

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8 Comments

  1. State of Emergency said:

    All hail Mother Russia for its ever giving and benevolent nature!

  2. State of Emergency said:

    Article 140 – “during the TERM of his or her powers AND thereafter, the President of the Republic may NOT be prosecuted and subjected to liability for actions deriving from his or her STATUS.”

    Why call it a democracy if that’s the case? I doubt that many Armenians have actually studies their so-called constitution. Article 140 irrefutably demonstrates a totalitarian system of government! It’s written by, and for, the same criminal thugs that have sold out the country. It’s a mentor-protégé racket setup by the bear up north.

  3. H. Aghamalian said:

    What about Levon T. Betrosyan, who sold all the hardware of the factories to Iran as scrap metal. What about all the buildings that he gifted to his family members. What about Artsakh that he wanted to give back to Azerbaijan. Isn’t he guilty of any crime? Instead he lives in a huge hose comfortably and organizing demonstrations ….and so on

  4. Ani said:

    He is a criminal and sooner or later he will be in the jail.No mercy for him.

    • hye said:

      time to work on Western Armenia. Eastern/Russian Armenia is taking to much time, energy, effort from Armenians. And it is very counterproductive. Mother russia is not going to let the Armenia go.

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