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December 01
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The court hearing on the criminal case against second President Robert Kocharyan and former deputy prime minister Armen Gevorgyan—who is now an MP of the opposition “Armenia” Faction in the National Assembly (NA)—has resumed Tuesday in Yerevan.

At the previous court session, Gevorgyan's lawyer Erik Aleksanyan petitioned the Constitutional Court to clarify the issue of suspending the criminal prosecution against his client. The thing is that the law does not provide a clear answer as to whether parliamentary immunity can be "automatically" overcome if criminal prosecution has started before obtaining the status of an MP, or the Prosecutor General is obligated to seek the consent of the NA.

The situation is similar—but not the same—in the case of two other MPs of the "Armenia" Faction, and the latter will apply to the Constitutional Court regarding them. In the case of MPs Mkhitar Zakaryan and Artur Sargsyan, the requirement of the law was bypassed, as the new parliament had not yet begun its work, and therefore the Central Electoral Commission assumed its role, allowing the arrest of these two MPs.

In Gevorgyan's case, however, it turns out that the criminal prosecution against him had started before he won a parliamentary seat and was elected the head of a parliamentary standing committee, but the status of an MP changes this situation. The court constantly appoints sessions at the same time as the NA holds sittings, and it demands Gevorgyan's presence in the courtroom, threatening with sanctions in case of "disrespectful" absence. Today, for example, Armen Gevorgyan will have to "sacrifice" his participation in the NA debates on the government program in order to attend the court hearing.

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