YEREVAN. – The preliminary court hearing on the case Robert Kocharyan v. Nikol Pashinyan is in progress Thursday at a court in Yerevan, the capital city of Armenia. 

At today’s session, second President Robert Kocharyan’s attorney is expected to submit to the court a written motion on dropping this lawsuit.

On September 17, 2018, Kocharyan petitioned to a Yerevan court, and with a demand to defend his honor and dignity against “publicly expressed slander.”

The reason for his submitting this petition was Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s public statement made during his working visit to France, and regarding the wiretapped telephonic conversation between National Security Service (NSS) Director Artur Vanetsyan and Special Investigation Service (SIS) Head Sasun Khachatryan.

The plaintiff considers the following part of Pashinyan’s statement as slander: “Or at least the interpretation on releasing Robert Kocharyan. He says he [Kocharyan] is untouchable [in terms of presidential immunity]. What does it mean ‘untouchable?’ In other words, can [one] organize the killing of people and [then] say, ‘I’m untouchable?’ Where is that so written?”

Pashinyan had made this statement a few days after the Criminal Court of Appeal’s decision to release Robert Kocharyan from custody, and on the grounds of presidential immunity.

In September 2018, the voice recording of the wiretapped phone talk between the NSS and SIS chiefs was disseminated on the internet. They were discussing the criminal case into the events that had occurred in Yerevan, in March 2008.  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.

Later, the wiretapped phone conversations between Nikol Pashinyan and Artur Vanetsyan were also posted on the internet.

The Investigative Committee has opened a criminal case into the wiretapping of these phone talks. 

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.