Khachatrian Holds First Press Conference

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Newly appointed Prosecutor General Henrik Khachatrian held his first press conference Friday–outlining his goals and ideas on his new post.

According to Khachatrian–the prosecutor’s office must act as the state’s immune system–and for this reason–he said–it is an absolute necessity to adopt new laws regulating the judicial branch and the law-enforcement agencies.

Khachatrian noted that no big staff changes are expected in the prosecutor’s office–unless the need arises because of administrative reasons.

Journalists inquired about the excessive use of force by law-enforcement officers–as reported by defendants of several cases including the "Trial of 31" and "September 25" cases. They also questioned the legality of torture and physical and mental pressure exerted on prisoners.

Khachatrian said that his office will be able to examine if such pressure was really exerted only after the trials have concluded–and he promised to contribute to speeding up the process.

He reported that in the near future the Supreme Court will start considering the appeals on the so-called "Dro" case and that he canceled the protest to alter the charges against Hrant Markarian launched by the former prosecutor general.

The Prosecutor said he attaches great importance to unresolved cases and is presently studying Hambartsum Galstian’s murder.

The Prosecutor General said that he supports the idea of preserving capital punishment in the new criminal code.

However–according to Khachatrian–it cannot be used excessively and the legal system must be selective in assigning such punishment.

Khatchatrian Tuesday withdrew an appeal filed by his predecessor Ardavazt Gevorkian protesting the shortness of the sentence given to so-called "Dro" defendant Hrant Markarian.

The famed "Dro" trial–which began in August 1995 and lasted until December 1996–was unable to prove charges of terrorism–drug trafficking against Markarian–and in the end–sentenced Markarian to a five-year prison term for possession of illegal weapons and fake travelling documen’s..

Former prosecutor general Gevorkian–ignoring the court’s final decision–petitioned the court to review its verdict and grant Markarian a stiffer sentence–only to validate the trumped up charges filed by his ministry following a highly controversial preliminary investigation.

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