The trials of the candidates for the presidency
During the trials the representatives of Levon Ter-Petrosyan Artak Zeynalyan and Vahe Grigoryan submitted a motion demanding them to remove the armed security guides from the trial room, as well as from the building entrance. They claimed the court to enable the presence of Levon Ter-Petrosyan during the trial, who was under domestic arrest, as well as to broadcast the hearing by the National TV station of Armenia. After the discussions the Constitutional Court of RA decided the following: “the military men follow the instructions of the President of Armenia (an emergency state was declared in Yerevan) and the Constitutional Court does not have the privileges to decide upon that issue. According to the Law on the Constitutional Court of RA trails can be recorded and broadcast, but the Constitutional Court can not demand other departments to do that. The Constitutional Court charged the General Prosecution Office with the work to elucidate all conditions regarding L. Ter-Petrosyan and to let Levon Ter-Petrosyan participate in trials if necessary.
First of all the Court listened to the lawyer Armen Ghazaryan, the representative of Tigran Karapetyan. Armen Ghazaryan stated that the whole pre-election period, the day of voting and the calculation of votes passed with violations of the Criminal Code of RA and the Voting Code of RA, which was reflected in the reports of international observers. According to it the representative of Tigran Karapetyan insisted on the necessity to cancel the decision of the Central Election Committee (CEC) concerning the final results of voting issued on 24 February 2008.
On 4 and 5 March the representatives of Levon Ter-Petrosyan submitted all the facts of violations concerning the pre-election campaign and the calculation of votes to the Constitutional Court. They also submitted a motion demanding the court to let Levon Ter-Petrosyan make a speech at the hearing of Constitutional Court on 5 March, as he was granted that possibility.
Levon Ter-Petrosyan made a 10 minutes speech stating that he would not give any political assessment of the situation in the country; he would rather give a legal assessment.
Levon Ter-Petrosyan pointed out 3 main aspects:
1. According to the Article 78 of the Voting Code of RA candidates for the presidency, who work in the institutions of local governing shall quit their activities during the elections, and do not have the right to abuse their powers. Consequently, the candidate for the presidency could not be registered and his registration was not legitimate.
2. According to the Article 53, point 1 of the Constitution of Armenia elections shall not be held during the military or emergency state. The election process starts by pre-election campaign and ends by examining the claims. Consequently, the elections of the president of Armenia shall not be considered legal as the whole election process has not finished by that time.
3. As a result of emergency state declared in the territory of Yerevan, the covering of the trial hearings of CC was one-sided and biased. Thus, the principle of equality of arms was violated.
“Therefore, any decision made by the Constitutional Court of RA, except the decision of considering the elections invalid, will create a deficit of legitimacy, which is dangerous for the country’s future and for the authority of the Constitutional Court. I don’t know how another decision will be perceived by the people of Armenia and by the international community. Armenia will be under the conditions of non-legitimate authorities. The only way out are the recommendations of the European Council. They are as follows: to discontinue the emergency state, to release the arrested persons, to ensure informational equality, to conduct impartial international investigation of the events of 1 March, to start a dialogue with the authorities of Armenia”.
The hearing continued in the evening of 5 March. The respondent in the person of the representative of CEC began addressing questions to the representatives of Levon Ter Petrosyan.
On 8 March the Constitutional Court of Armenia dismissed the claims of the candidates for the presidency Levon Ter-Petrosyan and Tigran Karapetyan. Hence, the Constitutional Court of Armenia let the decision of CEC of 24 February 2008 be in effect concerning the final results of the presidential elections of Armenia. At the same time CEC brought to the General Prosecution office the materials of nearly 20 polling stations about distortions of the election results.
The decision of the Constitutional Court is terminal and it can not be under appeal.