Kocharyan announces his political comeback

Kocharyan announces his political comeback

Former Armenian president Robert Kocharyan announced his political comeback.

"Consider that I came back," Kocharyan said in response to a question whether he was returning to politics, ARKA reported.

A Yerevan district court late on July 27 ruled that the Armenian Special Investigative Service could hold Serzh Sargsyan’s predecessor Robert Kocharyan for two months in pre-trial detention pending investigation.

The case dates back to late February and early March 2008 following the disputed presidential election, when then prime minister Serzh Sargsyan was declared the winner, angering the opposition, led by the first Armenian president Levon Ter-Petrosyan and setting off 10 days of nonstop protests that led to a crackdown on March 1, in which 10 people were killed and more than 200 injured.

Kocharyan was charged with toppling constitutional order in collusion with other persons. The same charge was brought against Yuri Khachaturov, secretary general of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, who had been the chief of the Yerevan garrison at the time of the bloody events of 2008. However, Khachaturov was released on bail.

In addition, former defense minister Mikael Harutyunyan is wanted by the law-enforcement authorities as a defendant in the case. He is accused of illegally using the Armenian armed forces against opposition supporters who demonstrated in Yerevan in the wake of the disputed presidential election held in February 2008. 

Kocharyan was released from custody on June 13 after Armenia’s Court of Appeals ruled that he could not be prosecuted for the post-election violence. One of his defense lawyers, Ruben Sahakyan, said that the court based its decision on Article 140 of the Armenian Constitution, which says that during the term of his or her powers and thereafter, the President of the Republic may not be prosecuted and subjected to liability for actions deriving from his or her status.

The ruling of the Court of Appeals was denounced by the Special Investigative Service, which described it as illegal, saying that the Court of Appeals “overstepped the bounds of its authority.”  It said also that it will ask the Prosecutor General to  appeal the decision at the Court of Cassation.