YEREVAN—Armenia’s Prosecutor General on Monday officially appealed a decision to release former president Robert Kocharian from pre-trial detention. Also on Monday, Armenia’s Special Investigative Service reported that Kocharian’s mansion and office were searched as part of the ongoing investigation into charges that the former president breached Armenia’s constitutional order in relation to the March 1, 2008 post-election unrest during which eight civilians and two police officers were killed.
The Prosecutor General’s office filed the appeal at Armenia’s Court of Cassation, a higher court, which will hear the case and make a decision on the appeal’s court ruling, which deemed Kocharian’s incarceration as un-constitutional given a provision in the constitution that shields Armenia’s leaders from being prosecuted even after they leave office.
Since his release on August 13, Kocharian has announced that he will enter Armenia’s political arena to challenge the current leadership, which he claims are not experienced enough to govern Armenia given the current geopolitical realities. Kocharian also has asserted that the charges against him are a “political vendetta” by the current regime.
On Monday, Armenia’s SIS confirmed that Kocharian’s mansion and office were searched in a raid. Its spokesperson, Marina Ohanjanyan, gave no details about the search when she spoke with Azatutyun.am.
But Kocharian’s representatives had a lot to say about the search and the motives behind why the news of the search was being publicized on the same day as the Prosecutor General’s appeal of a lower court decision to free him from pre-trial detention. Azatutyun.am reported that one of Kocharian’s attorneys, Haik Alumyan said that the SIS search did not yield any additional evidence in relation to the March 1, 2008 case.
Victor Soghomonyan, Kocharian’s chief of staff, to news.am that Kocharian’s office was search two to three weeks ago and claimed that releasing that information on the same day as the appeal was dubious.
“For some reason, they [the SIS] has decided to disseminate that information now,” Soghomonyan said. “As to why, I leave [it] to the readers’ imagination. I leave it to the readers as to what objective is being pursued by the delay in publicizing the news about the search.”
Soghomonyan confirmed the news about the search saying that only Kocharian’s office was searched. No other information was given by the former president’s chief of staff.
Another Kocharian attorney, Hovhannes Khudoyan, told News.am that his defense team could not comment further due to the confidentiality of the ongoing investigation.
During an interview with Yerkir Media last week, Kocharian complained about the confidentiality issues surrounding the case, saying that by doing so the investigative agencies could cherry pick the information that they want to release without giving the defense an opportunity to present its own case.