Kocharian Charged With ‘Usurping State Power’

Robert Kocharyan in Karabakh, 2003 (Photo courtesy Wikimedia)

YEREVAN—Armenia’s Special Investigative Service (SIS) on Thursday, July 26, officially charged Armenia’s former president Robert Kocharian for “usurping state power” under article 300 of the criminal code. The charges stem from the events of March 1, 2008, when eight civilians and two police officers were killed during a post presidential-election opposition protest. If convicted, Kocharian faces imprisonment for 10 to 15 years. The investigators have asked a court to issue an arrest warrant for Kocharian.

Earlier this month, the SIS charged Armenia’s Defense Minister at the time Mikael Harutiunyan with the same offense. On July 3, SIS charged that on February 23, 2008, Harutiunyan secretly and illegally ordered the army to help enforce the official vote results. Military units began moving in to Yerevan in the following days and were actively engaged in the ensuing crackdown that resulted in the 10 deaths.

Kocharian told Yerkir Media TV that the case against him was “a vendetta.” Kocharian has consistently defended his actions during the crackdown, saying it prevented an illegal seizing of power by the opposition led by another former president, Levon Ter-Petrosian.

Previously, the Prosecutor-General had indicated an inability to question Kocharyan over the events. However, after coming to power, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan had ordered the SIS to investigate the use of lethal force in the 2008 unrest and appointed Sasun Khachatrian to head the organization.

Paragraph 1 of Article 300 of the criminal code states, “Usurping state power, i.e. seizure of state power, in violation of the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia, or keeping it with violence, as well as, actions aimed at the overthrowing of constitutional order of the Republic of Armenia, or the violent breach of territorial integrity of the Republic of Armenia, is punished with imprisonment for the term of 10 to 15 years.”


  1. Long overdue. I am not even LTP supporter but what happened after the 2008 elections is unjustifiable. Nothing can justify the use of lethal force against protestors even if some of them were violent. And then the 20 day state of emergency, bringing tanks to the capital and Soviet-style media censorship.

  2. This is a seriously dangerous and concerning development. Hopefully it will not blow up and throw a dark shadow and derail the progress that is taking place.

    It endangers unity.

    Vart Adjemian

  3. I do not support this. The trouble I’m having here is that Pashinyan was lately seen chatting buddy-buddy with Levon Ter Petrossian, a very troubling fact. Pashinyan has a history of being ‘friends’ with LTP, but I think many if not most Armenians were willing to overlook his past if it meant that Armenia was going to be placed on the road to prosperity and cleansed of corruption. However, I personally am starting to get suspicious of Pashinyan with this arrest of Kocharyan.

    Even if Kocharyan is ‘guilty’ of the March 2008 events, first in line of having committed crimes against Armenia, and on a gigantic scale is Levon Ter Petrossian, not Kocharyan. I agree there should not have been deaths and that should have been investigated, but what is that compared to the wide-scale looting of the entire country upon ‘independence’ by LTP and his ilk? And how much damage has even been caused by LTP during the Artsakh war? There is no doubt it was massive. There were reports that LTP’s gang was even working agianst our freedom fighters during the Artsakh war. This criminal LTP should have been arrested and charged with High Treason a long time ago. The fact that he has been walking around free all this time, and even had the audacity to run for office again shows the lack of rule of law the Armenian nation has as a new nation trying to establish itself. Yes Armenia is full of criminals… you want to solve the problem? Start with that traitor Levon Ter Petrossian.

  4. LTP, Kocharyan and Sargsyan were/are ALL corrupt. I don’t care how they are brought down or in which order, so long as they are brought down. Everything else is just chatter.

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