Armenian Court of Appeals judge, Alexanter Azaryan struck down the decision of a lower court and Robert Kocharian was released from custody. The judge based his decision on a constitutional argument that the person who held the post of the president was immune and could not be subject to criminal prosecution and responsibility, during and after his term in office, if his actions were derived from his status.
Although Kocharian is released from custody but continues to be a defendant. Such interpretation of the law can also be used to fully release him from responsibility and dropping all charges against him.
Many legal experts believe that such an argument by the court contains extremely dangerous elements and should not be used in the case of Kocharian, based on the fact that the charges brought against him are the violations of the constitutional order. Even if immunity is enshrined in the constitution, it can not be disseminated on the violator of that same constitution.
The legal aspect of this case will be argued by lawyers and judges for a long time to come. On the other hand, however, the issue becomes more dangerous for the country itself. If the right for absolute presidential immunity is established, a precedent will be set and a wide door will be open to all present and future leaders of Armenia. In simple words, you are telling them kill as much as you can, falsify at wish, rule as a dictatorship, and if someday you lose power, do not fear, because the constitution gives you absolute immunity.
The behavior of the judge, who in the past has served in the presidential office of Robert Kocharian, raises many questions. Some are arguing that he could have been subjected to pressure not by the government, but by the representatives of the former authorities, who continue to have many levers of influence in important positions and have access to a huge wealth.
We are hopeful that the higher courts will give a different interpretation to the issue of absolute immunity, otherwise immunity will turn into impunity, and it will become a destructive element for the future of the Armenian Republic.