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Araks Mamulyan

Yerevan Judge Halts March 1, 2008 Case and Calls for Constitutional Court Review

Judge Davit Grigoryan, who released ex-Armenian President Robert Kocharyan from pre-trial detention on May 18, today halted the entire court case reviewing the post-election protests of March 2008 and has sent the matter to Armenia’s Constitutional Court for review.

Ten people died during the protests, culminating on March 1-2, 2008, and scores more were injured when police and army units were mobilized to disperse demonstrators.

The news was relayed to Hetq by Erik Aleksanyan, the lawyer defending Armen Gevorgyan, one of the defendants in the case. (Gevorgyan served as Armenia’s National Security Council Secretary at the time.)

Kocharyan, Gevorgyan and two other former government officials (then Armenian Deputy Minister of Defense Yuri Khachaturov and Seyran Ohanyan, who was Chief of the General Staff of the Armenian Armed Forces in March 2008), have been charged with usurping state power during the 2008 protests.

Judge Grigoryan has sent all the cases of all four to the Constitutional Court.

Kocharyan defense lawyer Ruben Sahakyan told Hetq that Judge Grigoryan had doubts whether or not his client, who was the Armenian president at the time, can be charged under Article 300 of the Criminal Code (Usurping State Power).

Sahakyan says that the May 18 decision to release Kocharyan from detention includes the following passage.

“The court finds certain doubts regarding the steps alleged to have been taken by Robert Kocharyan and the constitutionality of the charges brought against him under Article 300.1, and whether there is the presence or lack of immunity for criminal prosecution.”

Gor Abrahamyan, who works as an adviser at the General Prosecutor’s Office (GPO), told Hetq that the GPO has not received any official communique from the court regarding the decision to send the matter to the Constitutional Court.

Abrahamyan said that the GPO will appeal the court’s decision to release Kocharyan from detention.

In his May 18 decision to release Kocharyan, Yerevan Court of General Jurisdiction Judge Davit Grigoryan noted that he took into consideration the personal guarantees of Artsakh President Bako Sahakyan and former Artsakh President Arkadi Ghukasyan that Kocharyan would behave properly if released.


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