Kocharyan claims video evidence proving 2008 protesters were armed has disappeared
YEREVAN, MAY 16, ARMENPRESS. Ex-President of Armenia Robert Kocharyan told a Yerevan court today during the ongoing 2008 post-election unrest trial that during that period authorities had video evidence that the protesters were armed and violent.
Kocharyan argues that then-National Security Service head Gorik Hakobyan personally showed him the video materials on March 7-8 in 2008.
“The investigative body was initially categorically denying about the existence of the materials,” he told the court.
According to him, Hakobyan told him that the protesters were using weapons, had hand grenades and were opening gunfire.
“After the events, when they were criticizing in the press that these things did not happen, I demanded and Hakobyan personally brought and showed the video material and several other episodes. Today these materials aren’t anywhere, and I don’t know where they are. The National Security Service had rather interesting materials, how a hand grenade is exploding, resulting in the death of a police captain, this doesn’t exist today,” Kocharyan said. According to him, an entire criminal case comprising three volumes, that was submitted to the Special Investigative Service on March 2, is not there today, it hasn’t been attached.
President of Artsakh Bako Sahakyan and ex-president Arkady Ghukasyan will most likely make an appearance in a Yerevan court today , ex-President of Armenia Robert Kocharyan’s lawyer Hayk Alumyan told reporters.
Sahakyan and Ghukasyan are seeking the release of Kocharyan from jail and have petitioned personal guarantees to the Yerevan court.
Arkady Ghukasyan was President of Artsakh from 1997 to 2007.
The judge had said the petition requires them both to be personally present in court.
Robert Kocharyan, who also served as President of Artsakh from 1994 to 1997, is facing coup-related charges in the 2008 post-election unrest case, known as the March 1 case.
Artsakh’s President Bako Sahakyan and former President Arkady Ghukasyan had earlier petitioned to the Prosecutor General of Armenia requesting Kocharyan’s release from jail, but the prosecution said the request is misaddressed since the case is already in court.
The March 1 case refers to the 2008 post-presidential election unrest in Yerevan when eight protesters and two security officers were killed in clashes during large demonstrations against alleged vote rigging. Kocharyan was the outgoing president at that time. He is accused of unlawfully ordering the military to interfere and disperse the protests.
Robert Kocharyan is charged with “overthrowing Constitutional order” and “accepting particularly large bribe”.
Other indicted officials are: ex-Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan (overthrowing Constitutional order). In 2008 Ohanyan served as Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces; Yuri Khachaturov (overthrowing Constitutional order). In 2008, Khachaturov was the Deputy Minister of Defense; Armen Gevorgyan (conspiracy to overthrow Constitutional order, accepting particularly large bribe and money laundering). Gevorgyan served as Chief of Staff of the Presidential Administration. Gevorgyan’s most recent government position was Deputy Prime Minister.
Yuri Khachaturov is an Armenian general who served as Secretary General of the CSTO until being recalled by Armenia for criminal proceedings in 2018.
They all deny wrongdoing.
Edited and translated by Stepan Kocharyan