There are no grounds for instructing the investigation body to interrogate former Armenian president Robert Kocharian in connection with the 2008 post-election violence, the Prosecutor-General’s Office told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) on Tuesday.
Last week leader of the parliamentary faction of the opposition Yelk alliance Nikol Pashinian asked the country’s prosecutor-general to subpoena Kocharian for questioning over his ordering the use of lethal force to suppress protests held by the opposition in the wake of a disputed presidential election ten years ago.
Pashinian, an active participants of the protests who was later tried and convicted as one of the organizers of the unrest, in a video post on his Facebook account on March 5, in particular, said that Kocharian must explain where from he got the information about gunshots fired by opposition supporters at security forces, which was a key formal excuse for the authorities to quell the nonstop anti-government protests.
Pashinian’s application to the prosecutor-general came less than two weeks after a senior ruling party lawmaker who led a parliamentary investigation into the deadly events years ago repeated that same question once addressed to Kocharian during hearings in parliament on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the events.
In its reply the Prosecutor-General’s Office said that Pashinian had no status as a participant of criminal proceedings related to the March 1-2, 2008 events. “Therefore, there is no legal basis for admitting Pashinian’s application for an investigative action in criminal-procedural manner,” it said.
The Prosecutor-General’s Office also insisted that “according to the data collected by the investigation body so far there are no grounds for ordering the interrogation of Kocharian as a witness.”
Remarkably, head of Kocharian’s office Viktor Soghomonian brushed aside Pashinian’s move on Monday, describing the oppositionist as the main “provocateur and organizer” of the 2008 unrest.
Ten people, including two police officers, were killed in the 2008 melees followed by a continued crackdown on the opposition during and beyond a 20-day state of emergency imposed by the then outgoing president Kocharian. No one has yet been charged with murders committed back then.