Armenia attorney general’s office: No grounds for releasing ex-President Kocharyan under Constitutional Court ruling

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The Prosecutor General’s Office of Armenia has reacted to the Constitutional Court’s (CC) recent ruling—and based on the petition by second President Robert Kocharyan.

The CC had deemed unconstitutional Article 35 of the Criminal Procedure Code, and which refers to cases that rule out criminal prosecution in the country.

In response to a query by Armenpress, the attorney general’s office noted, in particular that, in its decision, the CC has clearly stated that the matter of the existence of functional immunity—with respect to the criminal case involving Kocharyan—shall be assessed and resolved within the framework of general criminal procedural regulations.

As per the Prosecutor General’s Office, the CC has found Article 35 of the Criminal Procedure Code to be problematic insofar as it does not envision grounds for terminating criminal prosecution when it becomes clear that a person enjoys functional immunity and it has not been overcome.

At the same time, according to the attorney general’s office, this matter is broader than the immunity of the retired president, and the same problem arises also when the immunity of some other relevant officials is not overcome in the manner prescribed by law, and they are not dispossessed of their immunity.

The Prosecutor General’s Office has stated that retired President Robert Kocharyan is not being accused of actions stemming from his status as president.

According to the attorney general’s office, the indictment against Kocharyan has nothing to do with his functional immunity; that is, the actions he is accused of cannot be viewed as deriving from his status as president. 

Consequently, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Armenia finds that there are no grounds for terminating the criminal prosecution against Robert Kocharyan and releasing him under the aforesaid CC decision.

Robert Kocharyan is charged with overthrowing the constitutional order in Armenia in connection with the tragic events that occurred in capital city Yerevan in March 2008, and taking a particularly large bribe. He has been arrested three times.

On March 1 and 2, 2008 the then authorities of Armenia used force against the opposition members who were rallying in downtown Yerevan, and against the results of the presidential election on February 19, 2008. Eight demonstrators as well as two servicemen of the internal troops were killed in the clashes.

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