The Yerevan Court of General Jurisdiction on Tuesday ruled that Armenia’s former president Robert Kocharian will remain in pre-trial custody, dismissing a motion by Kocharian’s attorneys who had appealed to drop the charges and release the former leader, who has been charged breaching Armenia’s constitutional order in relation to a fatal standoff between protesters and security forces in the aftermath of the 2008 presidential elections.
Last week, Armenia’s Constitutional Court ruled that jailing Kocharian was unconstitutional given that as a former leader he has immunity from being jailed. However, the high court dismissed the defense lawyers’ objections to the other clause that spells out legal grounds for arresting criminal suspects.
The presiding judge of Tuesday’s hearing, Anna Danibekyan, announced her decision to reject the petition for Kocharian’s release at the start of the hearing, but said she would issue the complete text of the decision, which presumably outlines her interpretation of the Constitutional Court ruling at a later date.
Kocharian’s attorney Hovhannes Khudoyan filed a motion for the judge to set bail for the former president. Danibekyan asked the defendant to discuss the amount of bail, to which Kocharian responded that he could not declare a specific amount since his and his family’s assets had been frozen since he was charged in July 2018.
The court is reticent to set bail, because it has said Kocharian is a flight risk.
Kocharian’s attorney argued that the prosecution has not presented concrete evidence that his client would leave the country or obstruct the investigation.
Danibekyan announced that she would rule on the bail petition on Friday.