Wikileaks leaked the letter of U.S. deputy ambassador to Armenia Joseph Pennington to the U.S. Department of State of March 7, 2008 which reports about the talk between embassy’s workers and member of the Constitutional Court of Armenia Judge Valeri Poghosian.
Pennington notes that Valeri Poghosian in the night of March 6 secretly turned to the U.S. Embassy to have a secret talk in his house.
The issue was related to the appeal of first president Levon Ter-Petrosian to the Constitutional Court with which he demanded to declare invalid the results of the 2008 elections.
The cable runs that Poghosian determined his wish to have a talk by the fact that he knows “whom the U.S. supports”.
According to the cable, Poghosian said that he had received numerous calls from a person who presented as the head of the staff of president Robert Kocharian with the demand to present himself to the presidential office. But he laughed and ignored the calls. He also said that he was even threatened that his brother would be dismissed if he did not answer the calls.
The document runs that Poghosian was unable to take part in the hearings of the case because he was ill, but “he assured that even if he was healthy, he would not take part in them”.
He also said that one of the judges to the case Kim Balaian cooperated with the authorities because his son Tigran Balaian was appointed Spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
He admitted that if pressure from the office of the president lacked, the greater part of the judges were inclined to issue a verdict in favor of Levon Ter-Petrosian.
Poghosian said “total autocracy” is present in Armenia where it is impossible to solve issues through a legal way.
He also said, according to the revealed cable, that the authorities were so shameless that they threatened to dismiss him, though they had no legal ground.
Workers of the embassy asked Poghosian about the possibility of unpublished deaths on March 1 and the rumors that army forces from Karabakh were taken to Yerevan, Poghosian answered that “these rumors are not totally ungrounded”.
In the end of the document, Pennington wrote that they have no ground to confirm the accusations of Judge Poghosian, but the fact that an Armenian high ranking official says such things, already means something. Poghosian was appointed Judge during Ter-Petrosian’s tenure in 1995 and since he did not hide his political position, the recent events are possible to have influenced on him.
Bad Elections and Political Violence
In another cable, The authorities and the ruling Republican Party are identified as the main culprits behind irregularities in the February 2008 presidential and May 2009 mayoral elections.
Handling of the 2008 vote for president is considered “significantly worse” than the 2007 parliamentary election that was also won by Republicans but was seen as a “modest step forward” compared to earlier votes.
Public outrage over the outcome of 2008 presidential elections and government’s heavy-handedness are identified as main causes for the post-election violence that left ten people dead. Two of the fatalities were security personnel and a bulk of the civilians “were not opposition protesters but passersby who happened upon the wrong place at the wrong time,” the embassy reported in April 2008.
A June 11 2009 cable signed by Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch reports on President Sarkisian’s disbanding of March 1 bi-partisan fact-finding group and suggests that “an independent investigation of the March 1-2 events was unlikely to ever reflect well on the [Armenian government’s] actions on those days.”
But the May 21 cable also points to “a core group of thuggish mid-level [opposition] organizers, possibly including veterans of the Nagorno Karabakh war, [who] set up barricades and deployed Molotov cocktails and other improvised weapons” throughout the “hours of standoff, fierce skirmishes, scattered looting, and incidents of mob violence” during the night of March 1-2, 2008.