Former president of Armenia placed under arrest again
An Armenian court has ordered ex-president of Armenia Robert Kocharyan be placed under arrest for a second time.
He stands accused of “overthrowing the constitutional order” during the demonstrations of March 2008 which resulted in the deaths of 10 people.
The court’s decision
The decision to arrest Kocharyan was made by the Court of Appeals. Kocharyan had earlier been released by the court citing his presidential immunity to prosecution for acts committed while in office.
Robert Kocharyan’s statement
The ex-president handed himself over to the National Security Service for arrest. Immediately after that, his lawyers called a press conference.
“Robert Kocharyan decided not to wait for the court to send an investigator to his home with the verdict – he willingly surrendered himself to the National Security Service,” said his lawyer, Hayk Alumyan.
A statement by Kocharyan was read aloud at the press conference. In it, he claimed that the case is politically motivated and that the decision to have him arrested was only made under intense pressure from the authorities.
Robert Kocharyan’s lawyers have already announced that they are going to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. Moreover, they will do so in parallel with an appeal of the decision to the Court of Cassation of Armenia.
The first arrest and release of Robert Kocharyan
Robert Kocharyan was first arrested on 28 July 2018 for his involvement in the 1 March 2008 events. He was accused of “overthrowing the constitutional order” by the Special Investigation Service.
Two weeks later, Robert Kocharyan was released from custody. The Court of Appeals declared his initial arrest illegal and that he enjoyed immunity from his time as president.
After the presidential elections of 19 February 2008, supporters of Levon Ter-Petrosyan (the first president of Armenia) demanded that the election results be recounted, claiming that he had won instead.
For 10 days in a row, leading up to 1 March, thousands of protestors took to the streets and held round-the-clock demonstrations.
On 1 March 2008, military-grade weapons were used to disperse the demonstrators. Ten people were killed as a result: eight civilians and two police officers.
Kocharyan was still president of the country at the time, and declared a state of emergency.
The case has been ongoing for ten years, though little progress has been made.