Kocharian’s Remand Appeal Overturned

Former president Robert Kocharian during an interview over the summer with Yerkir Media
Former president Robert Kocharian during an interview last month with Yerkir Media

Former president Robert Kocharian during an interview last month with Yerkir Media

The former president could face more jail time. Court also remands Serzh Sarkisian’s head bodyguard

YEREVAN—Armenia’s Court of Cassation on Thursday reversed an appeals court ruling to free former president Robert Kocharian who was remanded into custody after being charged with breaching Armenia’s constitutional order in connection with the March 1, 2008 post-election violence that led to the killing of eight civilians and two police officers.

On July 27 Kocharian was charged and remanded into custody. An appellate court overturned a lower court’s decision on the remand and on August 13 he was released from pre-trial custody. The court ruled then, citing Armenia’s Constitution, that current and former leaders of Armenia were immune from prosecution.

Thursday ruling by the Court of Cassation, Armenia’s highest criminal appellate court, satisfies Armenia’s Prosecutor General’s request of remand. However, the court sent the case back to the appellate court for review. Kocharian could be arrested following a ruling by that court.

Kocharian has vehemently denied the charges, calling the entire process a “political vendetta.”

In another ruling on Thursday, the Court of Cassation reversed a lower court’s ruling free former president Serzh Sarkisian’s lead bodyguard Vachagan Ghazaryan on bail. Immediately after the ruling, Ghazaryan was remanded into custody.

Ghazaryan was charged on June 25 of falsifying income statements and false asset declaration. At the time of his arrest he was carrying $500,000 cash, which he said he was going return to an unnamed owner. Investigations also revealed that he was going to attempt to withdraw $3 million from his and his wife’s accounts.

Bail was set for 1 billion drams ($2.5 million), which was paid before being freed from pre-trial detention.

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