National Security Service Director Artur Vanetsyan and Special Investigation Service head Sasun Khachatryan comment on the wiretapping scandal in a press conference in Yerevan.

Head of SIS Says Audio Recording Aims to Derail Investigation into March 1 Case


YEREVAN (Arka) — On September 11, the head of Armenia’s Special Investigative Service (SIS) Sasun Khachatryan said the goal of a secretly recorded audio recording containing his telephone conversation with the chief of the National Security Service Artur Vanetsyan, in which they discuss several high-profile criminal cases, launched against former top officials that went viral on internet the same day is the desire to make them silent.

“The goal of this audio recording is to make us work less actively, but we are determined to bring the  case to the end,” Khachatryan said during a special press conference on Tuesday.

He noted that the investigation uncovered sensational details of the  March 1, 2008 events, and that is the reason why the people responsible for that crime want to derail the investigation.

“The army not only participated in the events of March 1. The servicemen opened fire on residential buildings in Leo Street,” Khachatryan said.

In the audio Vanetsyan and Khachatryan discuss particular circumstances of the case against Kocharyan, who is charged with overthrowing Armenia’s constitutional order during the 2008 violence in which 10 people were killed.

In particular, Vanetsyan says that the judge who was supposed to decide on Kocharyan’s arrest was afraid to make a decision and telephoned him to ask for directions. In the audio the NSS chief also repeatedly warned the SIS head not to arrest former deputy defense minister Yuri Khachaturov, who currently serves as secretary-general of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization. Vanetsyan explained that Khachaturov’s arrest could entail “political problems.”

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Former president Robert Kocharyan, arrested on July 27 by a local court, but released from pre-trial custody on August 13, after Armenia’s Court of Appeals ruled that he could not be prosecuted for the post-election violence, is also accused of violating Armenia constitutional order in March 2008, when in a post-election standoff eight civilians and two police officers were killed.

The ruling of the Court of Appeals was backed by Article 140 of the Armenian Constitution, which says that during the term of his or her powers and thereafter, the President of the Republic may not be prosecuted and subjected to liability for actions deriving from his or her status.

The ruling of the Court of Appeals was denounced by the Special Investigative Service, which described it as illegal, saying that the Court of Appeals “overstepped the bounds of its authority.”  It later appealed the decision at the Court of Cassation.


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