Thursday, March 20, 2008

Kocharian: On calls for an independent investigation into 3/1.

Watch Kocharian, erstwhile hoodlum turned professor of international law, twist logic so beyond recognition that it would make a 12 year old Indonesian contortionist cry. As the interview below with Ter-Petrossian (Pt. 4) shows, the arrested "protesters" that Kocharian is talking about are none other than most of Ter-Petrossian's entire staff. Kocharian's "generous" assessment that they shouldn't be taken to the Hague to withstand trial is just about the most preposterous thing I've heard [because, of course, it goes without saying that they shouldn't be tried: they're innocent, and he, the one "magnanimously" granting them lenience, is precisely the one who needs to be tried at the Hague for killing peaceful demonstrators]. The press conference took place today, March 20th.

Question: Mr. President, among the announcements made by European organizations, as well as in the Heritage party's discussions, mention is made of independent investigations. What is your opinion about these announcements?

Answer: When announcements are made about an independent investigation, I get the impression that Europe and the Republic of Armenia understand that terminology a little differently. In the Republic of Armenia, no body is more independent than the Office of the Prosecutor General (OPG). The President nominates, a prosecutor is elected through council, and no one can change the elected prosecutor for six years. According to the Constitution, the OPG is the only body that can appear as the plaintiff (accuser) on behalf of the state. When they say "independent investigation," just who or what body is going to be carrying out that investigation? And who or what body is going to go to court with accusations? There is no other institution in the Republic of Armenia. Aside from that, a special investigative body has been created that is not beholden to the police, is independent from the Prosecutor General, and is now investigating that case. From the perspective of internal independence, those bodies are directly protected by the laws and by the Constitution. We do not have other institutions. Because the clashes were mainly between the military police and the demonstrators, the examination is being carried out by that independent body, and that examination is being supervised by the Prosecutor General. This is that model foreseen by the Constitution which we have today and which, in fact, harmonizes with the European models.

What can we do to raise confidence? We are in need of independent experts brought in from the outside. And we are already doing this: the OPG has already appealed to a number of organizations for the purpose of inviting independent experts. This is necessary for us, too. There are eight victims, and we, too, want independent experts to confirm or offer alternative opinions regarding the cause of those deaths. The inviting of experts does not contradict our procedure or statutes. The expert's opinion is going to be included in the criminal case and enter the courtroom.

The trials are, of course, going to be open [trials], and there can be no doubts on this account. [The following sentence seems to have been mistranscribed because it doesn't make any sense, at least to me. The mistranscription might--not--have been accidental, however, especially at this crucial point in his "reasoning." Here, I've translated the sentence with the ungrammatical parts preserved and rendered them in light yellow, the same color as the person responsible for them.] There is the European Court's civil bodies realize that if they end up not having enough evidence, then that case will ultimately go to the European Court, and the European Court will exculpate that person or those people and fine the government. In that sense, our system is reliable. It is a different matter whether it is possible to, like always, try to plant the seeds of distrust in the system through speeches and newspapers.

When the Europeans say "independent investigation," what they understand is "Parliamentary investigation," but that never replaces the examination of a criminal case. These exist on different planes. Criminal cases can only be examined by bodies suitable to them. A random person can't come out of nowhere and investigate a criminal case. That is not possible because the prosecutor needs to later enter the courtroom with that criminal case and defend the accusation. Who is going to go in that case? A criminal case must proceed according to its own proper way. A time may come when a parliamentary committee, too, is formed vis-a-vis the criminal case, in order to later investigate [the matter], but this is a totally different investigation, not an investigation of a criminal case. Generally speaking, in international relations there take place criminal tribunals, which are created through special resolutions; a special body is formed and goes to court. I don't think that our protesters and our rioters need to be taken to The Hague [Doh!!] or other places to be judged according to international procedures: these are not [commensurate] crimes and not on that scale. Usually, [such hearings are held] in cases involving ethnic cleansing, ethnic conflicts, genocides, and similar crimes.
(original Armenian here. Scroll down to last question on 3/20/08 page)


Anonymous said...

Do you think there is a possibility that Serge and Robert are playing "good cop bad cop" and that after April 9, in a "good-will gesture" there will be a mass pardon or something? Maybe I'm just hoping...

Anonymous said...

bucking farbarians. this is why the turks hated the armenians so much. has to be.

Bruce Tasker said...

Armenaker Kamilion, Nicely put as always:

Kocharian says the OPG has already appealed to a number of organizations for the purpose of inviting independent experts.

The European Parliament resolution of 13 March 2008 on Armenia, Clause 2 “Calls for a prompt, thorough, transparent, independent and impartial investigation of the events of 1 March 2008, including an independent investigation of the police intervention during the dispersal of the demonstration, and for all those responsible to be brought to justice and punished for misconduct and criminal acts of violence; calls on the Council and the Commission to offer EU assistance to the Armenian authorities with such an investigation;”

Armenia has an obligation to comply with agreements with the EU, so maybe Kocharian's personal and indisputably independent PG will take up the EU offer to assist with an independent investigation. I doubt it, but not for a lack of readiness from the EU.

Armen Filadelfiatsi said...

anonymout 3/21, 12:32 AM: You bring up a good point. A mass pardon would put them in a good light, but their position is so tenuous that I suspect that they can't afford to have LTP's organizers back on the streets.

nazarian said...

Plus, one of Levon Ter-Petrosian's preconditions for talks with Serj is the release of all the political prisoners. A pardon would mean complying with the precondition so I don't think it's gonna happen any time soon.