YEREVAN (RFE/RL) — Law-enforcement authorities on Friday, December 27, brought criminal charges against the chairman of Armenia’s Constitutional Court, Hrayr Tovmasyan, in what he denounced as a “political process” aimed at forcing him to resign.
Prosecutor-General Artur Davtyan charged Tovmasyan with two counts of abuse of power immediately after the latter was briefly questioned by the Special Investigative Service (SIS) at his office.
In a statement, Davtyan’s office claimed that Tovmasyan used his position to privatize an office in Yerevan when he served as justice minister from 2010-2014. It said that in 2012 he also forced state notaries subordinate to the Justice Ministry to rent other offices de facto belonging to him at inflated prices.
Tovmasyan grinned and struck a defiant note as he talked to journalists shortly after the interrogation.
“I was warned six months ago that one day I will be indicted for not taking X, Y and Z steps,” he said. “The X, Y and Z steps are my resignation. So this accusation … has changed nothing in my life.”
Tovmasyan claimed that the indictment is part of strong pressure exerted on him and other Constitutional Court judges by the Armenian government.