By Ani Paitjan
Armenia’s second President Robert Kocharyan will remain in custody, the Yerevan Court of General Jurisdiction of Shengavit District ruled on September 17.
The Court ruled to reject the motion of Kocharyan’s attorneys who asked for his release from pre-trial detention and the suspending of his criminal prosecution.
Kocharyan, currently in pre-trial detention on charges of “overthrowing constitutional order” during the 2008 Yerevan unrest, had requested that the Constitutional Court determine his arrest unconstitutional.
Under Judge Anna Janibekyan, the Court rejected the petition stating that the decision is in conformity with the Armenian Constitution.
Kocharyan was present at the court, along with crowds of supporters and opponents.
Following the announcement, Hovhannes Khudoyan, one of Kocharyan’s lawyers, stated that there are no grounds for keeping him in custody.
“The prosecutors and investigators have never been able to present any argument on obstruction [of the proceedings]. Moreover, they have repeatedly stated that Mr. Kocharyan has no way impeded the investigation of the case,” Khudoyan said.
On June 25, 2019, the Court of Criminal Appeal of Armenia made a decision to arrest Robert Kocharyan.
He was also in custody from July 28,2018 to August 13, 2018 under the same charge.
On February 19, 2008, Serzh Sargsyan became the president of Armenia. His opponent, the first president of Armenia, Levon Ter-Petrossian, and his supporters refused to accept the results of the election. For the next 10 days, there was round-the-clock sit-ins around the Opera, in Freedom Square. Then-President Kocharyan announced a state of emergency and army subdivisions entered Yerevan. On March 1, government forces clashed with protesters resulting in the deaths of eight civilians and two policemen, and roughly 300 injured. In the course of 10 years, no one has taken or borne any responsibility, including legal, for the deaths that occurred on March 1.