Prosecution of Kocharyan continues under ‘non-existent’ penal code article, lawyer says

Panorama, Armenia

The criminal prosecution against Armenia’s second President Robert Kocharyan and three other former top officials continue under “non-existent” article of Armenia’s Criminal Code as the Constitutional Code ruled that Article 300.1 is unconstitutional and invalid, one of Kocharyan’s lawyers, Hayk Alumyan, said at a program aired on Kentron TV on Tuesday.

The ruling issued by the top court on Friday says that Article 300.1 concerning “overthrow of the constitutional order”, under which Kocharyan and the others are being prosecuted, runs counter to Articles 78 and 79 of the Constitution. The articles deal with the principles of proportionality and certainty.

However, judge Anna Danibekyan presiding over the trial refused to throw out the case on Tuesday, announcing that the trial will resume on April 2.

Alumyan called the judge’s move a “gross violation” of the law amounting to a "crime".

He said that if Danibekyan does not put an end to the trial, the legal team will most likely file a crime report over prosecuting persons under a non-existent penal code article.

According to Kocharian's lawyer, the court was obliged to terminate the criminal prosecution regardless of whether they had submitted a motion for it or not.

Referring to the failure of prosecutors dealing with the case to attend Tuesday’s hearing, Alumyan said the authorities may have ordered them to take every “legal and illegal” step to continue the prosecution, failing to put up with the possible dismissal of the case.

The lawyer stated there are numerous arguments indicating that the case is fabricated.

“The ruling of the Constitutional Court is also a way of acquittal. If a person is charged under an article that is unconstitutional, he is factually accused of an act that is not a crime. The Constitutional Court ruled that the article under which the charges have been brought is unconstitutional, that is, such an act should not be criminally punished. This means that our client is acquitted of this charge. This is exactly what it means,” Alumyan said.

“If the law stipulated that a person could be acquitted of the same charge ten times on different grounds, rest assured that he would be acquitted ten times on different grounds if the investigation were objective,” he added.

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Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS