Kocharian’s Arrest Ruled Unconstitutional

Robert Kocharian (Photo: RFE/RL Azatutyun Armenian Service)

YEREVAN—Armenia’s Criminal Court of Appeals on Monday ruled former president Robert Kocharian’s pre-trial custody as unconstitutional and immediately released him overturning a lower court decision, based on which he was remanded into custody after being charged with breaching Armenia’s constitutional order in connection with the March 1, 2008 post-elect standoff between protesters and police that resulted in the deaths of eight civilians and two police officers.

“We are satisfied with the court ruling,” said one of Kocharian’s attorneys, Ruben Sahakyan who explained that the ruling was based on article 140 of Armenia’s Constitution which stipulates 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.”

While Kocharian still stands accused of the charges, his attorney Sahakyan did not rule out the possibility that the entire case against Kocharian could be thrown out based on the same constitutional provision.

Kocharian was due to meet the press at a conference hall of the Erebuni Plaza hotel one day after Armenia’s Court of Appeals released him from custody. A group of protesters burst into the hotel in Yerevan, preventing him from holding a news conference there. Several dozen, mostly young protesters were chanting “Robert murderer!” They blamed him for the deaths of eight protesters and two police servicemen during the breakup on March 1-2, 2008 of opposition demonstrations held in the wake of a disputed presidential election.


  1. Finally, common sense has prevailed. Glad Mr. Kocharian’s out. What is more interesting though, is the fact that the lower court was not aware of the article 140 and its stipulation, or were they aware of It? Possibility. Mr. Kocharian’s, attorneys must investigate to find out if there are any connection between the prosecutors of the lower court and Petrosoglu-pashinoglu team. It is rather odd, shortly after the latter two met in private, about two weeks ago, Mr. Kocharian was apprehended. Hopefully, the second president will step up to the plate and claify, without the interruption of yesterdays hooligans’ protest, the March 1 incident to the Armenian people once for all.

  2. What really prevailed is the absolute separation of the executive and judiciary for the first time in Armenia’s history. This is something that people in Armenia could have only dreamed about when Rob was president. For Pashinyan to put Rob in jail is a matter of a few phone calls, the same phone calls that LTP, Rob and Serjik were almost addicted to. The same phone calls which resulted in A1plus, the only opposition TV station during Robs presidency, being deprived of its broadcasting license. The same phone calls that deprived Raffi Hovhanissyan from running for presidency in 2003 on the grounds that he hadn’t been a citizen of the Republic of Armenia for 10 years while Rob himself moved to Armenia from Artsakh only a few years before becoming RA president, violating the citizenship/residency requirement! The list goes on and on… You really have to be blind in order to not see the enormous change in the system of governance.
    In any case, this case has the potential to end up in higher courts and possibly even the European court of human rights.

  3. The bottom line is, article 140 of Armenia’s constitution declares that the president, during the term or thereafter, he or she, are NOT subject for prosecution. Mr. Kocharian, simply followed the rule, he had no choice but to declare state of emergency. Now, if your logic dictates that the hooligan rioters on ,March 1 2008 had every right to destroy, burn and loot the city, then you are not part of the solution, instead, you are part of the problem. Pashinyan,Petrosyan,Arzoumanyan, and Sirounyan are part of that problem, they organized and orchestrated the riots, they need to step forward and pay for the crimes they committed. Visit, YouTube and Google, ‘ Euronews…Yerevan 02 03 2008 No Comment’.

  4. Levon Ter Petrossian
    Robert Kocharian
    Serge Sarkissian ( never sure how to spell his name!!!).
    All three past presidents should fold their tents and totally go into retirement;simply disappear from the political scene. Their time came and now is up and gone.
    All three had their chances and all three miserably failed.
    For all three of them, there is not one single meaningful and positive contribution
    that they made which will leave a mark. On the contrary they all had negatives; the list is too long. We need to forget about them.
    The country faces tremendous challenges. Serious and lasting reforms are direly needed.The broken bonds of trust between the political institutions and the people it is intended to serve needs to be repaired.
    We need to look to the future.
    Vart Adjemian

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