Former President Robert Kocharyan appeared in court from May 13 to May 15 at the Court of General Jurisdiction of Avan and Nor Nork administrative districts regarding an ongoing investigation into his involvement in the March 1 case.
The situation inside the courtroom remained tense and required police intervention as family members of those killed during March 1, 2008 post-election protests attempted to enter the courtroom. Activists also attempted to go inside to hear the proceedings.
Many reporters were unable to enter the courtroom due to a lack of space.
Kocharyan’s supporters protested outside the courtroom, demanding a fair trial.
Levon Kocharyan, the youngest son of President Kocharyan, expressed readiness to meet with the father of one of those killed on March 1.
During the trial, Kocharyan asked the judge whether there was an investigation to find those who made arrests and killed people on March 1.
"There is nothing in the 70 volumes on the case. I can make assumptions as to why. For years, people’s consciousness has been injected with poison," Kocharyan said.
Kocharyan concluded by saying that, “If we conclude that three of the victims were killed by the “Cheryomukha” weapon, it becomes apparent that neither the police nor the army are guilty of the murder of the other seven victims.”
On February 19, 2008, following a presidential election that was marked by electoral fraud and abuse of administrative resource, Serzh Sargsyan became the president of Armenia. His opponents, the first president of Armenia Levon Ter-Petrossian and his supporters, refused to accept the results of the election. President Robert Kocharyan announced a state of emergency and army subdivisions entered Yerevan. The growing rallies and peaceful demonstrations were met with heavy use of force and firearms by the authorities on March 1, resulting in deaths of ten people, including two policemen.
Kocharyan was initially arrested on July 27, but was released after three weeks. The judge who was in charge of the case, Aleksandr Azaryan, said that the Armenian constitution gives the ex-president immunity from prosecution.
The former president claims that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan is waging a political “vendetta” against him.
Kocharian’s lawyers condemned the ruling as politically motivated. They said the court is acting under strong pressure from the government and law-enforcement agencies.
Read More: Is Pashinyan-Kocharyan Cease-Fire Possible?