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July 1, 2011
The Trial "Kocharyan against the Hraparak" May Turn Into a Scandal
By Nane Makuchyan
 The Trial "Kocharyan against the Hraparak" May Turn Into a Scandal
RA second president Robert Kocharyan

On June 30, the trial Robert Kocharyan - the second president of Armenia - against "Hraparak" daily, which took place in the Court of First Instance of Kentron and Nork-Marash administrative districts, can possibly turn into another political scandal.

The problem is that the judge satisfied the claimants application to call as a witness Lusine Petrosyan - the author of the controversial article "Kocharyan is being destroyed, Tsarukyan is being explained to."

The claimant explains the presence of the latter as an opportunity to hear explanations of "offensive and defamatory" expressions right from the author, and the author tries to bring arguments for the journalistic point of view.

The essence of the "Kocharyan against 'Hraparak'" trial is the contradiction of the sides' attitudes.

Kocharyan's lawyer believes that the article published February 12 in "Hraparak" daily contains information that "insults and defames" the second president.

The responding side claims that the article contains personal opinion of the author and not any kind of information. The Article 27 of the Constitution of the Republic of Armenia gives this right: "Any person has the right to freely express his opinion. It is prohibited to make a person refusing his views or change them. Any person has the right of free speech including the freedom of searching, receiving and spreading information and ideas with the help of any means of information..." etc.

The article which became the reason of the current trial, contains the following thoughts: "Who would think that Kocharyan couldn't be able to stand the routine and would enter the sphere with his irrational thoughts..."; "And Kocharyan as much as he stands out with his provincialism and bloodiness, glitters also with his irrationalism."; "Of course, a biography like his, buried in treason, state and economic crimes and, what is most important, blood, very few earthly creatures had..." etc. These expressions are also included in Robert Kocharyan's application.

And another essential circumstance: the respondent, "Hraparak" daily, constantly tries to clarify which expressions Kocharyan views as insult and which ones as defamation (these are different judicial categories).

"Hraparak" claims that at least in the application these are not defined.

Also to clarify this circumstance, the JNews reporter had an interview with Sargis Grigoryan - the head of "GPartners" company which represents Robert Kocharyan in the court, and the lawyer of Robert Kocharyan Arpine Meliqbekyan. In the course of the interview Meliqbekyan said that it would not be right if she mentioned which expressions they considered as insult and which ones as defamation "because we're in the course of judicial investigation."

The same question was raised by "Hraparak's" lawyer Ara Zohrabyan on June 30 during the court hearings but again, despite his efforts, he did not receive any answer.

Moreover, the claimant's lawyer did not mention which words they considered "insult" and "defamation" even after the judge Edward Avetisyan requested to define these two concepts as an important condition for the court process. There is no such definition in Kocharyan's suit either.

However, there is a statement which can play a decisive role in satisfying or refusing the suit on the "defamation" part. This statement has been repeated very often in the application, during the court and in the course of the interview with JNews.

It is as following. "On February 12, 2011, in the 25 (685) issue of the "Hraparak" daily, page 4, an article was published titled "Kocharyan is being destroyed, Tsarukyan is being explained to" which contains information that insults and defames Robert Kocharyan's honor and dignity..."

If the author Lusine Petrosyan and the lawyers of the claimant meet during the next hearings maybe there will be an answer whether the expressed thougths were information or just journalistic opinion.

JNews talked to Lusine Petrosyan to find out if she was going to be present at the next trial (the date is not set yet) and explain her thoughts concerning the article.

"I think I will be there. But it depends on what kind of notification I will receive. Anyway, I am not going to prove anything, because the article does not contain facts or information. It only contains a negative opinion about Robert Kocharyan's presidency. If they are interested why I have such an opinion and why I expressed it I am ready to tell."


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