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YEREVAN. – The legal defense team of Armenia’s second President Robert Kocharyan has issued a clarification on the technical justifications and related circumstances in connection with the criminal case against Kocharyan.

According to his attorneys, the current situation is a gross violation of the rights of Kocharyan’s personal freedom and of effective judicial protection.

As per the aforesaid clarification, it stems from the presumption of freedom in international and Armenia’s constitutional law that Robert Kocharyan should be in freedom until the abovementioned technical issues are resolved, and therefore, in order to rule out further violations of Kocharyan’s right to liberty, the current law enforcement system in Armenia should immediately release him until all technical issues are resolved and the normal course of the case is restored.

As stated by this clarification, it turns out that, for the sake of keeping Kocharyan in custody for a long time, the judiciary of Armenia has begun to form a new perilous practice: henceforth, attorneys of the country can appeal to a higher court the interim acts on cases of defendants who are not detained, thereby suspending the major cases until their statute of limitations expires.

“Here is what judicial ‘reforms’ the highest judicial authorities [of Armenia] are engaged in,” the clarification concludes.

On June 25, the Criminal Court of Appeal ruled to once again arrest Robert Kocharyan—who had earlier been released on the personal pledge by the former and incumbent Presidents of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), overturned the first instance court ruling to suspend the proceedings of the case against Kocharyan and several other former senior officials—in connection with the events that occurred in capital city Yerevan in March 2008, and sent the case for a new examination. 

Robert Kocharyan’s legal defense, however, had appealed this decision to the Court of Cassation.

Second President Robert Kocharyan is charged with overthrowing the constitutional order in Armenia in connection with the aforesaid events, and taking a particularly large bribe.

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.

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