“Zhoghovurd” says that public reaction to an Armenian court’s decision to release former President Robert Kocharian from custody has been “extremely negative.” “The decision to free the former president was made by Judge Aleksandr Azarian who worked during Robert Kocharian’s rule in his staff as a senior expert at the secretariat of the Justice Council,” writes the paper highly critical of Kocharian. “There is a view that that was the main factor behind his decision.” It also emphasizes the fact that Kocharian has not been cleared of the coup charges stemming from the March 2008 violence in Yerevan.
“Besides, by keeping him under arrest for 17 days authorities demonstrated that there are no untouchable people [in Armenia] and that even the status of former president is not a guarantee for avoiding arrest or prosecution,” the paper says. It also says that the court’s controversial decision means the Armenian judiciary is no longer controlled by the government.
“The Armenian society is shocked and confused,” writes “Hraparak.” “It has no idea what is going on. It does not come to grips to what happened. Robert Kocharian is free. Some people insult and curse the judge while others are disappointed with Nikol Pashinian or feel that [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and [French President Emmanuel] Macron had a hand in that. Indignation has flooded social media and there is practically no rational analysis or view. There is nobody around who could tell the indignant society that moral and political responsibility and criminal responsibility are very different things. You can hate someone, think that he had for years rigged elections, stole from the budget, perpetrated the March 1  massacre. But there has to be concrete evidence for bringing criminal charges based on that.”
1in.am claims that Kocharian and his political team will now try to undermine the credibility and popularity of the new Armenian government. “This is the main tactical objective of Kocharian’s team,” says the online publication. “Yesterday’s decision by the Court of Appeals gave Kocharian a chance of legal rehabilitation.” It goes on to urge the authorities to bring more criminal charges against Kocharian and again ask courts to allow his arrest.