Armenian Ex-President Kocharian Back In Custody

Armenia’s former president, Robert Kocharian, has returned to a detention center in Yerevan just hours after the country’s Court of Appeal ordered his rearrest, overturning a ruling by a lower court.

The Court of Appeal on June 25 reversed a lower court ruling that released Kocharian from pretrial detention and suspended his trial on charges of overthrowing the constitutional order during the final weeks of his decade-long rule that ended in 2008.

As a result, the appeal court said that it was upholding a complaint that prosecutors filed in May after his release.

Before entering the detention center, Kocharian greeted a group of his supporters who gathered near the facility, behind a police cordon.

The former president also answered questions from reporters. Asked to comment on the Court of Appeal’s ruling, Kocharian said that “there is neither law, nor legality.”

Kocharian is accused of ordering the army to suppress nonstop street demonstrations against the outcome of a presidential election that officially gave victory to Kocharian’s hand-picked successor, Serzh Sarkisian.

Ten people, including two security officers, were killed in what is considered the worst street violence in Armenia since it regained independence in 1991.

On May 18, a Yerevan court said the 64-year-old Kocharian, who had been in pretrial detention since his arrest in December, could be released after leaders from Nagorno-Karabakh said they would vouch for him and guaranteed that he would appear in court when the trial resumes.

Two days later, the court suspended the criminal proceedings, saying it was sending the case to the Constitutional Court over Kocharian’s status as either a private person or a president.