YEREVAN—Armenia’s second president Robert Kocharian, who earlier Thursday was charged with “breaching [Armenia’s] Constitutional Order” in connection with the events of March 1, 2008, when eight civilians and two police officers were killed during post-presidential election protests, vowed that he will fight the charges “to the end,” calling them a politically motivated “vendetta.”
“I will go. I will sit [in jail] but I will fight this until the end,” a visibly shaken Kocharian told Yerkir Media’s Gegham Manoukyan in an exclusive interview that aired on the channel Thursday evening. (Soon after the announcement was made about the interview, the Yerkir Media website crashed, with channel managers announcing on Facebook that the site was hacked).
During the more than 47-minute interview, during which he continuously repeated himself, Kocharian called the charges a “political vendetta” by the current regime, saying “they have already determined who the guilty parties are and are searching for ways to make the charges stick.”
“When I see that people are skilled at inventing such fabrications, I realize that for them nothing is sacred. They are capable of anything,” said Kocharian who called the entire episode “judicial surrealism” and warned that it will have a lasting impact on Armenia and its judiciary.
“If people are indifferent towed these issues—the same people who are hiding today—all of this is going come crashing on them,” said Kocharian who characterized the actions of Armenia’s Special Investigative Service as a ticking time bomb that will explode and a wipeout the entire Armenian statehood.
“I never could imagine that within our reality such a false criminal case can be created,” added Kocharian.
The former president also blamed Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan for instigating what he claimed was a deadlock between internal security forces and the post 2008-election protesters, claiming that they were given the option to move their protest to the Madenataran, but Pashinyan himself “categorically refused” and urged protesters to form barricades.
Furthermore, he added that Levon Ter-Petrossian should also be blamed for the 2008 events, because after the Central Electoral Commission and Armenia’s Constitutional Court verified the election results, the first president publically called for the disbanding of state institutions after he claimed victory “after having received 21.5 percent of the vote.”
Hence, Kocharian said that before charging him the SIS should have punished the members of the CEC and the Constitutional Court, claiming that their official approval of the results came before March 1 events and Ter-Petrossian’s incitement of regime change was squarely in went against the decision of Armenia’s high court.