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YEREVAN. – Unlike the first instance court, the course of the Criminal Court of Appeal trial into the case of Armenia’s second President Robert Kocharyan was lawful.  

Hayk Alumyan, one of Kocharyan’s attorneys, stated about he above-said at a press conference on Saturday.

“Unfortunately, the [presiding Criminal] Court of Appeal judge allowed himself to grossly violate the law in his final decision and continued to keep Mr. Kocharyan in custody, disregarding several very gross violations,” Alumyan added. “In 2008, a charge of breaching the [country’s] constitutional order was brought against seven people—to the most active participants. Then in 2009, the relevant article of the constitution was changed (…). As a result of that change, the criminal proceedings regarding those seven people were ceased, with that part (…). [As a result,] our respected [incumbent PM] Nikol Pashinyan also evaded criminal proceedings.

“One of our [Kocharyan’s legal defense] arguments was that the same standard should be applied to Mr. Kocharyan, too.”

As reported earlier, the Criminal Court of Appeal on Thursday denied the motion by Robert Kocharyan’s attorneys and upheld the first-instance court decision on extending the term of his custody.

On January 18, the capital city Yerevan Court of General Jurisdiction granted the petition by the Special Investigation Service, and with a request to extend Kocharyan’s confinement for another two months, but denied the motion by the legal defense team of Kocharyan, and to the effect that their client be released from custody on bail. The defense, however, appealed this ruling to the Criminal Court of Appeal.

Robert Kocharyan was first remanded in custody on July 27, 2018 by a decision of the Yerevan Court of General Jurisdiction. But on August 13, 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 had presidential immunity.

But on November 15, the Court of Cassation overturned the Criminal Court of Appeal decision on remanding—and on the grounds of presidential immunity—Robert Kocharyan in custody, and the case was sent to the same court for a retrial.

And with its ruling on December 7, 2018 the Criminal Court of Appeal upheld the first instance court’s July 27 decision on remanding Robert Kocharyan in custody. On the same day—December 7, Kocharyan was remanded in custody a second time.   

Armenia’s second President Robert Kocharyan—along with several other former officials—has been charged within the framework of the criminal case into the tragic events that transpired in 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 March 1 and 2, 2008 the then authorities of Armenia used force against the opposition members who were rallying in downtown Yerevan, and against the results of the presidential election on February 19, 2008. 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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