Not declaring state of emergency in 2008 could’ve led to more victims, argues former minister of justice
YEREVAN, JULY 27, ARMENPRESS. If the government were not to declare a state of emergency on March 1, 2008 it could’ve led to additional victims, according to former minister of justice Davit Harutyunyan.
“The situation in those days in downtown Yerevan was such that not declaring state of emergency could have led to additional victims. I am saying this as a citizen whose house was nearby the very actions,” Harutyunyan told reporters today in parliament.
Harutyunyan said the declaring state of emergency is part of the tools of the president granted to him by the Consitutiokn, and a president must not answer for his actions during his tenure after his term in office ends.
“The president’s duties obliges him to ensure the security of Armenia. And these very powers, which are granted to the president for solving tasks, any action stemming from this, cannot imply responsibility in the future for these steps. Otherwise any president at the most decisive moment when the latter has to declare martial law, right up to war, can be constrained, thinking what will happen after a regime change,” argues Harutyunyan.
Speaking about the charges against former President Robert Kocharyan, Harutyunyan says he doesn’t see a legal language in the statement of the Special Investigative Service.
“I don’t see a legal part here,” he said, adding that he voiced the same opinion about the SIS’s statement concerning Michael Harutyunyan.
The former justice minister says criminal prosecution of the second president of Armenia is extremely concerning. He said that a state of emergency regime implies the use of the military during state of emergency.
“The law was adopted in 2012, and the bill passed the expertise of the Venice commission, and there was no objection in this regard, because similar approach is adopted in numerous countries,” he said.
Harutyunyan says the Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), his party, will soon present its political assessment over the issue.
The March 1 case is an ongoing investigation into the deadly 2008 post-election unrest in Yerevan. Kocharyan was the outgoing president at the time, as Serzh Sargsyan was named winner of the presidential election. Mass protests erupted in Yerevan, which led to fatal clashes between security forces and demonstrators.
Earlier criminal charges were pressed against Kocharyan over the March 1 case, and prosecutors requested a court to issue an arrest warrant.
Kocharyan is charged with paragraph 1 of Article 300.1 of the Criminal Code (breaching Constitutional order).
Edited and translated by Stepan Kocharyan