Robert Kocharyan: fall from the throne

Robert Kocharyan: fall from the throne

On July 27, the Court of general jurisdiction of Shengavit community of Yerevan decided to grant a request of the Special Investigative Service (SIS) on the arrest of second Armenian President Robert Kocharian. In the framework of the investigation on the events of March 1, 2008, he was charged under Article 300.1 of the Criminal Code of Armenia - overthrowing the constitutional order of the Republic of Armenia by preliminary collusion with other officials.

For 10 years, the authorities have done everything possible to conceal the atrocity of March 1, 2008, when the members of the peaceful rally, who expressed disagreement with the falsified results of the presidential elections on February 19, 2008, faced violence. Then, as a result of the use of firearms and special means by policemen, 10 people died, including 8 civilians and two servicemen of the internal military forces. Over 200 people were injured, most of them the internal military forces soldiers.

Some experts characterize this crime as a result of the ignorance of the people’s will by the authorities. Among the steps taken by the authorities to prevent the exposure of the crime committed on March 1, it is worth mentioning the blocking of the initiatives of the opposition faction Armenian National Congress"(ANC) to establish a special parliamentary commission to study those events by the parliamentary majority (in 2012 and 2014). It was planned that the commission would collect the facts and give an assessment of the work of the law enforcement agencies during the March events.

The arrest of ex-head of state Robert Kocharyan, who has been considered responsible for the tragedy for many years, was an important step towards exposing the true perpetrators of that crime.

Kocharyan's lawyers call the accusation put forward by the SIS curious and incomprehensible. In particular, the defense does not understand, what Kocharyan’s specific actions led to the overthrow of the constitutional order. According to the press service of the SIS, a group of officials, in violation of the Constitution, actually approved the martial law in the country, using the Armed Forces against the peaceful rallies participants to solve the political issues.

According to some lawyers, the secret order N0038 of 23.02.2008 signed by then Defense Minister Mikael Harutyunyan on bringing the Armenian armed forces on combat readiness on the eve of March 1, 2008, is a serious problem for the team of Kocharyan’s defenders who have already promised to secure an acquittal for him. Due to this order, the country's army was involved and used against citizens solely for the political purposes.

Today, the opponents and an extremely small group of Robert Kocharian’s supporters ‘crossed swords’ in a dispute about exactly what article of the Constitution the guarantor of the Constitution violated.

The society, without delving into the details of the legal disputes, poses a number of quite logical questions: why during the previous 10 years, despite the insistent demands of the citizens of Armenia and international organizations, nobody has invoked the responsibility for the crimes of March 1. None of the 10 murders was solved, many people who were injured that tragic day were not registered as victims, no compensation was given to anyone. In addition, there was no objective investigation of the disproportionate and unlawful use of force by the law enforcement agencies in relation to the peaceful demonstrators. Recent events show that the Armenian society will soon receive answers to the questions that concerned it for 10 years.


Vestnik Kavkaza

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