February 23
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Sasun Khachatryan, Chief of the Special Investigation Service (SIS) of Armenia, believes that appellate court judge Aleksandr Azaryan must declare self-withdrawal in the case involving second President Robert Kocharyan.

Khachatryan on Thursday told reporters that during the court hearing, this judge had informed that he had worked at the office of the second President.

“I’m convinced that Azaryan must announce self-withdrawal, since nine decisions on the March 1 [2008] case were made by him at the time,” the SIS chief noted, “that is, he has certain prejudices [in connection with this case].

“I believe that the judge has a subjective opinion, and he was subject to self-withdrawal. Besides, the case was examined with an illegitimate makeup, and the decision is subject to annulment.”

Khachatryan stated that the Court of Appeal had exceeded its powers; that is, it should have limited itself to just considering the legality of the first-instance court’s decision.

As reported earlier, second President of Armenia Robert Kocharyan has been charged within the framework of the criminal case into the tragic events that transpired in capital city Yerevan on March 1 and 2, 2008—and under Article 300.1 Paragraph 1 of the Criminal Code; that is, breaching Armenia’s constitutional order, in conspiracy with others.

On July 27, Kocharyan was remanded in custody for two months by a court decision. But on Monday, the Court of Appeal granted Robert Kocharyan’s legal defenders’ appeal to commute the first-instance court’s decision on remanding their client in custody, and Kocharyan was released from courtroom on the grounds that he has presidential immunity. But sometime thereafter, the Special Investigation Service stated that the decision to release Kocharyan was unlawful, and expressed the hope that the Prosecutor General’s Office will appeal this decision at the Court of Cassation.

On March 1 and 2, 2008, the then authorities used force against the opposition members who were rallying in downtown Yerevan, and against the results of the recent presidential election. Eight demonstrators as well as two servicemen of the internal troops were killed in the clashes. But no one had been brought to account for these deaths, to this day.

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