“Chorrord Inknishkhanutyun” complains that the renewed investigation into the March 2008 events in Yerevan is supposed to focus only on the circumstances of the ten deaths and not former President Robert Kocharian’s personal responsibility for the bloodshed. The opposition daily says Kocharian violated the Armenian constitution by using the armed forces against peaceful demonstrators. “In theory, Robert Kocharian may be right to claim that law-enforcers did not need a special order to use weapons … but the same cannot be said about movements of army units,” it says, reiterating opposition claims that Kocharian illegally ordered the army into Yerevan before declaring a state of emergency.
Kocharian’s spokesman Viktor Soghomonian dismisses such claims in an interview with “Hayots Ashkhar.” “I have to once again remind that all actions by the head of state were taken in full conformity with the country’s constitution and Armenia’s law on defense,” says Soghomonian. “If the term defense seems blasphemous to some people in this context, they should be reminded that our country’s basic law defines the concept of homeland defense as defense against not only an external threat but also attempts to usurp power and inroads on constitutional order, which is what certainly happened on those days [in March 2008.]”
Suren Abrahamian, a former interior minister affiliated with the opposition Armenian National Congress (HAK), tells “Zhamanak” that the March 2008 deaths will not be solved despite the fresh investigation ordered by President Serzh Sarkisian. “Serzh Sarkisian issued this order under pressure from the public and international structures,” he says. “This was a message to international structures to the effect that the authorities are making real efforts to solve the crime.” Abrahamian says the investigators continue to stick to the official version of events which was dictated by Kocharian.
“168 Zham” quotes political analyst Manvel Sargsian as saying that the popular uprisings in the Arab world and the resulting changes in the policies of the United States and other big powers have seriously influenced recent political developments in Armenia. “All this has had a substantial impact on all countries,” says Sargsian. “Naturally, it was going to influence Armenia as well.”