An Armenian judge who presided over the trial of former President Robert Kocharian and released him on bail in May has been charged with alleged forgery committed in relation to a separate case, the Special Investigative Service told RFE/RL on July 30.
Over the weekend, Armenia’s Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) allowed for the investigation of Judge Davit Grigorian and suspended the judge’s powers pending the investigation.
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’s rearrest.
Earlier, Grigorian voiced suspicions that actions of the law enforcement bodies could be retribution for his ruling in the high-profile case.
The Prosecutor-General’s Office, however, insisted that the investigation was not related to the trial of Kocharian and on July 30 released more details of the criminal case against Grigorian, saying that he had forged protocols of hearings at which he was not even physically present.
Earlier, Grigorian’s lawyer said that his client would not admit to the charge of forgery if that was to be pressed against him.
Supporters of Kocharian and other critics of the current government say law enforcement agencies apply pressure on the judiciary, undermining its independence.