YEREVAN—After eight hours of deliberations on Thursday, the Armenia’s Criminal Court of Appeals went into recess, with the judge announcing that the court will reconvene on Friday to continue hearing appeals from former president Robert Kocharian’s attorneys on a decision to remand him when he was officially charged on July 27 with breaching Armenia’s constitutional order in connection to the March 1, 2008 post-presidential election standoff between protesters and police during which eight civilians and two police officers were killed.
After the hearing, one of Kocharyan’s attorneys, Hail Aloumyan spoke to reporters gathered outside the courthouse, saying that Kocharian appeared at the hearing and also addressed the court.
“[He spoke] brilliantly. I am actually thinking that a tangible portion of his testimony may be publicized because the evidence he presented was well formulated. He spoke about the case and the charges [brought against him],” said Aloumyan.
Another attorney, Aram Orbelyan, seemed upbeat and told reporters that the recess was called so the sides have not had the opportunity to present their cases.
“If we are not done tomorrow, then [the session will be] on Monday,” explained Orbelyan who said that he was optimistic about the outcome of the appeal.
Armenia’s Prosecutor General’s office on Wednesday rejected an appeal to release Kocharian by 46 members of parliament who submitted a petition on Tuesday calling for an end to Kocharian’s pre-trial remand.
The Prosecutor General’s office rejected the appeal and validated concerns expressed by its Special Investigative Service, which said that remanding Kocharian would ensure an impeded investigation into the March 1, 2008 post-election protests, during which eight civilians and two police officers were killed in clashes with the police. Kocharian is charged with breaching Armenia’s Constitutional order by engaging the military in the election process, which is a violation of the current constitution and the one under which Kocharian served as president.
“At the current stage of the preliminary investigation, the grounds to remand Robert Kocharian into custody remains unchanged and the selection of another precautionary measure outside of detention is still unable to guarantee the uninterrupted process of the investigation, due to thethe proper conduct of the defendant,”Arevik Khachatryan, head of Prosecutor General’s public relations department said Wednesday.
Armenia’s chief investigator, Sasun Khachatryan, has said that Kocharian is refusing to cooperate with the investigation and is not answering any questions.
In addition to the brief statement, the Prosecutor General’s office also released the list of parliament members who signed the petition appealing Kocharian’s remand. The list confirms that 42 of the signatories are members of Serzh Sarkisian’s Republican Party of Armenia, led by Parliament Speaker Ara Babloyan and deputy speakers Arpine Hovhannisyan and Eduard Sharmazanov; three of the remaining four signatories are members of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation bloc and one lawmaker representing businessman Gagik Tsarukyan’s bloce.
Below is the list: