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Araks Mamulyan

Court Ruling: Kocharyan to Remain Detained as March 1, 2008 Trial Continues

Armenia's second president Robert Kocharyan will remain in detention as his trial on charges of usurping state power and bribe taking continues.

The Yerevan City Court of First Instance rejected a motion of filed by Kocharyan’s lawyers to release their client based on a recent Constitutional Court decision on the constitutionality of the ex-president’s detainment.

His defense team argued that as a former president Kocharyan enjoys immunity from political prosecution for events that took place during his time in power.

The Constitutional Court reviewed the following two articles of the Criminal Procedural Code:

  • Article 35 – lists the circumstances in which a criminal case can be initiated and mentions the admissibility of criminal prosecution of a former president.
  • Article 135 – states the grounds for applying a preventive measure.

On September 4, the court partially found in favor of the motion, stating that Article 35 violates Armenia’s Constitution; specifically, Article 27, which guarantees “personal liberty” to former presidents.

The trial of former Armenian President Robert Kocharyan and three other ex-government officials charged with the overthrowing of constitutional order during the post-election protests in Yerevan on March 1-2, 2008 began on September 12 at the Shengavit branch of Yerevan’s Court of General Jurisdiction.

The other three defendants in the case are Armen Gevorgyan (Armenia’s National Security Council Secretary at the time) 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).

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