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Armenia’s top court dismisses Kocharyan case as ‘unconstitutional’ 

26 March 2021
Robert Kocharyan. Photo via Telegram.

Armenia’s Constitutional court declared that it was unconstitutional to charge Robert Kocharyan, Armenia’s second president, with Article 300.1 of the Criminal Code. As a result, his case will be closed and his trial cancelled. 

Chair of the Constitutional Court Armen Dilanyan announced the court’s decision on Friday, after initiating the discussion on the constitutional merits of the case on March 23. 

In July 2018, Robert Kocharyan, was charged with ‘overthrowing the constitutional order’ for his role as president in a deadly 2008 crackdown that left 10 people dead. 

He was charged alongside the Armenian government Seryan Ohanyan, Armen Gevorgyan, and Yuri Khachaturov, who served, respectively, as defence minister, national security adviser, and chief of the Yerevan military garrison in 2008.

In September 2019, the Constitutional Court ruled that Kocharyan’s pretrial arrest violated his ‘right to freedom’.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who has been at logger-heads with the country’s judiciary since coming to power in the 2018 Velvet Revolution, had called for a referendum to reform the Constitutional Court before in winter of 2020. 

Plans for the referendum were scuppered after the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War.   

Robert Kocharyan expressed his willingness to participate in Armenia’s upcoming snap election in late January. Kocharyan has blamed Pashinyan and his administration for the defeat in the war and has called for a ‘full-fledged’ integration with Russia.

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