Former President Robert Kocharian’s latest statement makes front-page headlines in virtually all Armenian newspapers published on Wednesday.
“Aravot” dismisses Kocharian’s claims that the tragic events of March 2008 benefited the Armenian opposition and that opposition leader Levon Ter-Petrosian planned to seize the presidential palace in Yerevan at the time. “This is a questionable logic. If we follow it, any crime is beneficial for the victim, rather than the perpetrator, because it’s the victim who demands that the crime be solved and the criminals be punished,” the paper argues in an editorial. “In this case, the victim is the entire society.” But, it says, Kocharian had a point when he said that had Ter-Petrosian left his house on March 1-2, 2008 and tried to “rein in the crowd goaded by him” there could have been no casualties.
“Robert Kocharian is not a child, and knows very well that nobody is going to catch him,” continues “Aravot.” “Even if Levon Ter-Petrosian comes to power, nobody will send the second president to The Hague. Mr. Kocharian’s main message is a political and pre-election one.”
“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” scoffs at Kocharian’s emphasis on the fact that no senior opposition figure was injured during the unrest. “From the purely legal viewpoint, this remark is of no interest, but it is of exceptional importance in the psychological sense,” writes the opposition daily. “In effect, Kocharian is saying, ‘I didn’t kill those ten individuals. If I were to kill, I would kill the opposition leaders, rather than ordinary protesters.’ This argument brilliantly exposes Kocharian’s character.”
“Yerkir” singles out Kocharian’s remark that he consulted with then Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian and parliament speaker Tigran Torosian before declaring a state of emergency in Yerevan at the time. “Kocharian is implying in a more than veiled manner that then Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisian and the political majority [in parliament] led by the Republican Party are as responsible for that decision as he is,” comments the paper. It says Kocharian also sought to show that he had nothing to do with the unrest deaths.
“Serzh Sarkisian is left to either state that Kocharian did not consult with him [in March 2008] or accept a compromise variant proposed by Kocharian and again close the March 1 chapter after identifying concrete murderers,” writes “Zhamanak.” “Such a development could also be in the opposition’s interests because it would at least ensure the punishment of the murder perpetrators.” The paper says Kocharian seemed to indicate that he would be satisfied with such a deal and would not interfere in the dialogue between Sarkisian and Ter-Petrosian as a result.