Kocharian and three other former officials were prosecuted in connection with the 2008 post-election unrest in Yerevan. Anna Danibekian, a district court judge presiding over their trial, acquitted them in early April ten days after the Constitutional Court declared the charges unconstitutional.
The trial prosecutors appealed against the acquittal. They demanded that the Court of Appeals allow investigators to charge the defendants with abuse of power and order Danibekian to resume the coup trial.
The Court of Appeals rejected the prosecutors’ appeal in a ruling announced late on Friday. One of Kocharian’s lawyers, Hovannes Khudoyan, welcomed the decision.
A spokesman for the Office of the Prosecutor told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service that the law-enforcement agency will look into the ruling before deciding whether to appeal to the Court of Cassation, the country’s highest body of criminal justice.
Kocharian, his former chief of staff Armen Gevorgian and two retired army generals have said all along that the coup charges leveled against them are politically motivated. Lawyers representing them maintain that Danibekian’s decision to clear them of the alleged “overthrow of the constitutional order” stemmed from Armenian law.
The judge also ruled on April 6 that Kocharian and Gevorgian will continue to stand trial on separate bribery charges which they also strongly deny. Court hearings on that case resumed in July.
Kocharian, who is highly critical of Armenia’s current leadership, was first arrested in July 2018 shortly after the “velvet revolution” that brought Nikol Pashinian to power. He was set free on bail in June 2020.
The 67-year-old ex-president set up an opposition alliance in May this year. It finished second in parliamentary elections held in June.