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YEREVAN. – The Criminal Court of Appeal of Armenia on Wednesday is considering the appeals by the Prosecutor General’s Office and by the legal representatives of the successors of the victims of the events that occurred in capital city Yerevan in March 2008, on the respective criminal case involving second President Robert Kocharyan and some other former senior officials. 

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.

The Armenian correspondent reported from the courtroom that member of Robert Kocharyan’s legal defense team, French Armenian attorney specializing in international criminal cases of political and financial nature, Sevak Torosyan, is participating in the court session for the first time.

The second President also is in attendance to this court hearing.

As reported earlier, the Prosecutor General’s Office has appealed the Yerevan general jurisdiction court decision to release Robert Kocharyan from custody, and the same court’s decision to suspend the proceedings of this criminal case and to petition to the Constitutional Court (CC).

The legal representatives of the successors of the aforesaid victims also have filed appeals.

Second President Robert Kocharyan is charged with overthrowing the constitutional order in Armenia in connection with the tragic events that occurred in Yerevan in March 2008, and taking a particularly large bribe. Kocharyan’s legal defense, however, argues that he is being subjected to political persecution.

On May 18, a Yerevan court of general jurisdiction decided to release Kocharyan from custody, and based on the personal pledge by Artsakh Republic (Nagorno-Karabakh Republic) incumbent President Bako Sahakyan and second President Arkadi Ghukasyan.

And on May 20, the same court suspended the criminal case against second President Robert Kocharyan, former Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan, former Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces and former CSTO Secretary General Yuri Khachaturov, and former Deputy Prime Minister and ex-Secretary of the National Security Council Armen Gevorgyan, and petitioned to the CC to determine the constitutionality of some Criminal Code articles and sections that are applied regarding this criminal case with respect to overthrowing the constitutional order in Armenia, and in connection with the abovementioned events in March 2008.

And the CC on Tuesday extended for one month the deadline for examining this Yerevan general jurisdiction court petition on the criminal case involving ex-President Robert Kocharyan, and the other former senior officials.

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