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Armenian Authorities Not Seeking Arrest Of Prominent Judge

Judge Davit Grigorian has been accused of forgery.
Judge Davit Grigorian has been accused of forgery.

YEREVAN -- Armenia's Special Investigation Service says law-enforcement authorities are not seeking the arrest of a judge who suspended former President Robert Kocharian's trial and released him on bail, and who is now charged in a separate forgery case.

Armenia’s Supreme Judicial Council -- a body tasked with ensuring that Armenia's courts exercise judicial power separately from the legislative and executive branches of government -- filed forgery charges on July 30 against Judge Davit Grigorian. The council has also suspended Grigorian's powers.

Grigorian, who presided over Kocharian's trial, ordered the former president's release on bail on May 18.

Grigorian also later suspended Kocharian's trial, questioning the legality of coup charges brought against the ex-president, and referred the case to Armenia's Constitutional Court.

Prosecutors filed appeals against both decisions and both rulings were overturned on June 25 by Armenia's Court of Appeals -- leading to the rearrest of Kocharian.

The Prosecutor-General's Office in Yerevan insists that the forgery charges against Grigorian are not related to Kocharian's trial.

Prosecutors allege that Grigorian committed forgery of official protocols of hearings in a separate case where he was not physically present.

Grigorian has said that he suspects the search conducted in his office was connected to the high-profile case against Kocharian.

A statement from the Special Investigation Service says authorities recently searched Grigorian’s office because they were looking for evidence of official forgery related to “circumstances of a different case that was reported by a citizen in February.”

Grigorian's decisions to release Kocharian on bail and to suspend his trial have been criticized by political allies and supporters of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian.

Supporters of Kocharian and other critics of Pashinian's government allege that law-enforcement agencies in Armenia apply pressure on the judiciary and undermine its independence.

Based on reporting by Suren Musayelyan in Yerevan and RFE/RL's Armenian Service
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