Hovhannes Khudoyan, a lawyer of Armenia’s second President Robert Kocharyan, submitted a motion to the court with a request to suspend the criminal case against his client and former deputy prime minister Armen Gevorgyan, who is now an MP of the opposition “Armenia” Faction in the National Assembly (NA).
At the previous court session, Gevorgyan's lawyer Erik Aleksanyan had 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.
Presiding Judge Anna Danibekyan said that the Constitutional Court had answered the question whether it was considering the petition of the "Armenia" Faction on this issue.
It follows from the response of the Constitutional Court that there is no such specific petition, but there is a petition in which, among other issues, Article 96 of the Constitution is raised.
They also received the answer of the leader of the "Armenia" Faction in parliament, Seyran Ohanyan, who confirms that the faction has not yet applied to the Constitutional Court on this issue.
Khudoyan recalled that Article 96 of the Constitution defines the procedure and circumstances of overcoming parliamentary immunity. The attorney reminded that, regardless of when the criminal prosecution started, it is the parliament that should give permission for its implementation and continuation regarding an MP.
The lawyer stated that this did not imply inadmissibility of criminal prosecution, but the need to comply with the law.
The continuation of this criminal case is impossible without the approval of the parliament, the lawyer argued.
In conclusion, Hovhannes Khudoyan asked the court to suspend the consideration of this case, as Armen Gevorgyan's parliamentary immunity has not been overcome, or to apply to the Constitutional Court.
The prosecution, in turn, said this motion was inconsistent with the norms, and concluded that all suspects and defendants could be nominated MPs and request a suspension of the case on that basis.