An Armenian judge who presided over the trial of former President Robert Kocharian and released him on bail in May has been charged with forgery allegedly committed in relation to a separate case, the Special Investigation Service (SIS) told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am) on Tuesday.
On July 27, Armenia’s Supreme Judicial Council allowed for the investigation of Judge Davit Grigorian. The oversight body also decided to suspend the judge’s powers pending the investigation.
On May 18, Grigorian controversially ordered Kocharian released from prison pending the outcome of the trial.
He later suspended the trial, questioning the legality of coup charges brought against the ex-president and referred the case to the Constitutional Court.
Prosecutors appealed against both decisions, which were condemned by political allies and supporters of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian. Armenia’s Court of Appeals overturned them on June 25, which led to Kocharian’s re-arrest.
Earlier, Grigorian voiced suspicions that actions of the law-enforcement bodies could be retribution for his ruling in the high-profile case.
The Prosecutor-General’s Office, however, insisted that the investigation was not related to the trial of Kocharian.
The Prosecutor-General’s Office released more details of the criminal case on Tuesday, saying that Grigorian committed official forgery of protocols of hearings at which he was not even physically present. It again categorically denied that attention to the case that was first addressed in February was due to Grigorian’s ruling in the Kocharian trial.
Earlier, Grigorian’s lawyer Yervand Varosian said that his client does not admit to the charge of forgery. He also said that Grigorian told the SIS earlier today that “the charge is a direct consequence of his two decisions in the [Kocharian] case.”
Meanwhile, supporters of Kocharian and other critics of the current government claim that with actions like those against Grigorian law-enforcement agencies apply pressure on the judiciary, undermining its independence.