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Armenia's Supreme Judicial Council Agrees To Investigate Kocharian Trial Judge

Former President Robert Kocharian attends a Court of Appeals hearing in Yerevan on July 24.
Former President Robert Kocharian attends a Court of Appeals hearing in Yerevan on July 24.

Armenia’s Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) has allowed for the investigation of a judge who presided over the trial of former President Robert Kocharian and released him on bail in May.

By upholding the relevant petition from the Prosecutor-General’s Office in relation to Judge David Grigorian, the oversight body has also suspended his powers pending the investigation.

The decision was published on July 27.

SJC member Hayk Hovannisian told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service that prosecutors had requested permission to pursue criminal proceedings on three counts, but were allowed to investigate only two.

The SJC did not disclose details of the case.

The Prosecutor-General’s Office previously said that actions against the judge were not related to Kocharian's trial.

In a statement explaining a recent search of Grigorian’s office conducted by the Special Investigation Service, it said that investigators were looking for evidence of official forgery related to “circumstances of a different case that was reported by a citizen in February.”

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 being arrested again.

Earlier, Grigorian “voiced suspicions” that the search conducted in his office was connected to the high-profile case against Kocharian.

Supporters of Kocharian and other critics of the current government say law enforcement agencies apply pressure on the judiciary, undermining its independence.

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