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Kocharian Again Sues Pashinian


Armenia -- Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and formen President Robert Kocharian.

Former President Robert Kocharian has filed another defamation lawsuit against Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian just days after being cleared of coup charges.

A lawyer for Kocharian, Hayk Alumian, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service on Thursday that he is seeking 4 million drams ($7,500) in damages and a public retraction of what he regards as slanderous claims made by Pashinian during a March 1 rally in Yerevan.

Addressing supporters at the city’s Republic Square, Pashinian accused Kocharian of ordering security forces to shoot and kill opposition protesters in Yerevan in March 2008. He again claimed that investigators have solved the killings of eight protesters and two police servicemen during the post-election unrest and that the ex-president is dragging out his trial to obstruct justice.

Alumian said Pashinian slandered his client and violated the latter’s presumption of innocence.

Kocharian had already sued the prime minister in September 2018 and April 2020. He withdrew the first suit in June 2019 after Pashinian clarified through a lawyer that he did not publicly accuse the ex-president of “organizing the killings.”

The second suit followed Pashinian’s allegations that Kocharian and other former senior officials “plundered” Armenia while in office. A Yerevan court has yet to rule on it.

Pashinian did not immediately react to his political foe’s latest legal action.

Kocharian, who governed the country from 1998-2008, was first arrested in July 2018 on charges of “overthrowing the constitutional order” during the final weeks of his decade-long rule.

Armenia’s Constitutional Court declared the accusations, strongly denied by Kocharian, unconstitutional on March 26. The move led a Yerevan judge presiding over the marathon trial of Kocharian and three other former officials to throw out the case earlier this week.

The judge ruled that Kocharian and his former chief of staff, Armen Gevorgian, will continue to stand trial only on bribery charges also denied by them.

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