Judge Calls Balayan Case “Asinine”

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The presiding judge in the Kim Balayan trial–Garik Manoukian–called the on-going proceeding "legally futile and asinine," during a court session Tuesday.

The statement came following a protest by defendant Balayan urging the judge to invite National Assembly members Vazgen Manoukian–Davit Vartanian–Rouben Hakopian–Shavarsh Kocharian–Arshak Sadoyan and Seyran Avakian–who have been named as accomplices to Balayan in allegedly organizing the so-called post-election unrest on Sept. 25.

Judge Manoukian then stated that the defendant’s request would not be accepted since it was not clear for the court whether these individuals would testify at the trial as co-defendants or witnesses.

The court’s confusion was further illustrated by a motion by defense attorney Rouben Sahakian who asked the court for discovery continuance–so the prosecution could conduct further preliminary probes.

Sahakian also addressed the case brought forth by his client when his election as a National Assembly member in 1995 was rejected by Armenia’s Central Electoral Commission. He stated that the status of his client was unclear–since Balayan–who was declared a candidate by Armenia’s Supreme Court in July 1995 and won the elections–has appealed to the court for a ruling on his status.

Sahakian argued that the courts had not yet ruled on his client’s status–alluding that it was unclear whether his client should be treated as a member of parliament [with special immunity due to his candidate status] or whether he should be tried as a civilian.

The court rejected Sahakian’s motion–stating that the two cases were unrelated.

Following the barrage of motions and protests by Balayan and his attorney–the presiding judge–frustrated with the inconsistencies in the state’s case–called the entire trial "asinine."

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