“Prosecutors should use the general entrance to enter the courtroom according to the accepted norm,” Norik Norikyan, member of the Chamber of Advocates of Armenia told Panorama.am when asked to comment on the incident during today’s court hearing of ex-President Robert Kocharyan when the Judge and the Prosecutor general entered the courtroom from the same room, using the service entrance of the presiding Judge.
Norikyan didn’t recall similar case from his practice when prosecutors used special entrances.
Asked whether the incident may speak of the biased approach of the Judge, Norikyan said:
“The grounds for recusal of the Judge from court proceedings are strictly regulated by the Criminal Procedure Code of Armenia and the constitutional law on the Judicial Code whenever there are reasonable suspicion about the judge’s partiality or impartiality. I am not sure whether the conclusion about links between the General Prosecutor and the Judge are quite substantiated based on the brought example. However, if there are grounds for the conclusion speaking of direct links between the Judge and the investigating Prosecutor, it may leave a negative mark on the whole process.”
To remind, at today’s criminal hearing of ex-President Kocharyan case Armenia’s Prosecutor General’s entered the courtroom using the judge’s service entrance. One of Kocharyan’s lawyers, Hayk Alumyan, asked the Judge whether the Prosecutor General was in the same room with him and whether there were any links or interactions between the Prosecutor and the Judge out of the scope of the ongoing proceedings, to which the Judge responded he didn’t have the capacity to control the courtroom entrances.
Panorama.am applied to the Supreme Judicial Council, a state body overseeing the Armenian judiciary, whether any disciplinary case opened in the practice whenever a prosecutor and a judge used the same entrance ahead of the criminal hearing. The Head of the Protocol Department at the Council asked to resend the enquiry in written form since the matter required additional analysis.