On December 18, 2019, Armenia’s second President Robert Kocharyan made a speech at the Court of Appeals, stating that he had led the Nagorno Karabakh Republic during the war.
“I have governed that country throughout the whole war in NKR, I am the author of the Declaration of that country, I simply wrote the Declaration of that country and from 1988 until the formation of the country no decision was made without me during the whole movement,” said Robert Kocharian.
Fact Investigation Platform decided to find out whether Robert Kocharyan’s statement corresponds to reality or not.
The beginning of the Artsakh war
The Armenian-Azerbaijani tensions did not only begin with the Artsakh war, and by the mid-1980s there escalation in tension had been marked. This tension has occasionally led to ethnic clashes, which is why it is difficult to pinpoint exactly when the Artsakh war began.
Perhaps the beginning of hostilities can be considered January 30, 1992, when Azerbaijan used “Grad” rocket launcher for the first time, shelling Stepanakert from Shushi.
Besides that, the firing and displacement of dozens of Armenian settlements in the spring of 1991 by Azerbaijan can also be particularly noted. By that time, separate guerrilla detachments had already been formed fighting against Russian-Azerbaijani forces.
On the basis of these separate detachments, a joint army headquarters was established, and Arkady Ter Tadevosyan was appointed commander of the army.
The first government of the newly independent Nagorno Karabakh
On February 20, 1988 the NKAO Regional Council convened an extraordinary session, which decided to appeal to the Azerbaijani and Armenian SSRs and the USSR Supreme Councils with the request to withdraw the NKAO from Azerbaijan and to join it with Armenia.
On December 10, 1991, NKR Independence Referendum was held. A few days later, on December 28, 1991, elections of the People’s Deputies of the NKR Supreme Council of the first convocation of the NKR state authority were held, in which in fact the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF) won.
The Supreme Council of the First Convocation convenesd its first session from January 6-8, 1992. ARF Dashnaktsutyun representative Artur Mkrtchyan was elected chairman of the parliament – the Supreme Council, becoming the first leader of Artsakh (Artsakh had parliamentary governance at the time).
Georgy Petrosyan was elected Deputy Chairman and Vladik Hakobyan the Secretary of the Supreme Council.
Robert Kocharyan was also running for the post of Chairman of the Supreme Council․ Being a representative of the Artsakh wing of the Armenian National Movement he was cooperating with the leaders of the Armenian government- Armenian National Movement (ANM) and President Levon Ter-Petrosyan. Kocharyan, however, lost to Arthur Mkrtchyan, and the latter assumed the post of the head of state….
Following the death of Arthur Mkrtchyan, on April 14, 1992, by the decision of the NKR Supreme Council Presidency, the Deputy Chairman of the Supreme Council Georgy Petrosyan assumed the duties of the Supreme Council.
On August 15, 1992, the Supreme Council established the State Committee for Defense of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR), which was fully entrusted with the functions of the executive branch and partly with the powers of the legislative branch. Deputy of the Supreme Council Robert Kocharyan was appointed Chairman of the NKR State Security Council․
A year later, on June 14, 1993 the acting chairman of the NKR Supreme Council Georgi Petrosyan also resigned.
By the decision of the Supreme Council of the NKR on December 21, 1994 a system of presidential administration was introduced in Artsakh. The next day, the NKR Supreme Council elected the Chairman of State Defense Committee Robert Kocharyan as a President of the NKR for a two-year term.
And despite the fact that Robert Kocharyan has assumed the office of the NKR President since December 22, 1994, he actually headed the State Defense Committee established since August 1992 and was considered the head of the highest authority in the NKR.
Thus, Robert Kocharyan’s assertion that he led the NKR throughout the war is incorrect, since he had actually assumed the post of NKR leader since mid-1992, when hostilities were already spreading throughout Artsakh.
About the Declaration
Second RA President says he is the author of the NKR Declaration “I am the author of the Declaration of that country. I simply wrote the Declaration of that country. “
The leadership of Nagorno-Karabakh has adopted two declarations – the Declaration of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic adopted on September 2, 1991 and the Declaration of Independence adopted on January 6, 1992.
It’s not clear which Declaration the second President referred to, but both declarations were written with the participation of People’s Deputies of the Nagorno-Karabakh and those of Shahumyan District Councils of all levels.
In other words, all the politicians who were active in Karabakh in those days contributed to the drafting of the declarations, and attributing the drafting of the declarations exclusively to Robert Kocharyan is wrong.
Speaking about his important role in the Artsakh movement, Robert Kocharyan stated that no decision was made without his approval. “From 1988 until the formation of the country, no decision was made without me during the whole movement,” said Kocharyan.
To refute this assertion, let us recall the extraordinary session of the Regional Council of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region on February 20, 1988, in which a decision was made to appeal to the Azerbaijani and Armenian SSRs and USSR Supreme Councils with the request to withdraw Nagorno-Karabakh from Azerbaijan and join Armenia.
Not only was Kocharyan not involved in this decision, but he was also not considered a member of the NKR Regional Council.
As mentioned above, as a result of the elections of the People’s Deputies of the NKR Supreme Council held on December 28, 1991, the ARF faction had a majority in the Supreme Council, which initially had 27 members and then 35 members.
Whereas the “Miatsum” [Unification] deputy group, which was headed by Robert Kocharyan, had 19 seats in parliament. This means that even the political unit represented by Kocharyan in the parliament had no decisive role in decision-making.
Summing up, it should be noted that the second president of Armenia Robert Kocharyan, during the court hearing, speaking about his role and participation in the Artsakh movement, attributed to him the leadership of Karabakh during the whole war, the drafting of the Declaration and participation in all the decisions that were decisive for Artsakh during those years, whereas none of these statements are completely true.