Vartan Oskanian, Armenia's ex-foreign minister and MP of the Prosperous Armenia Party (BHK), has given an interview to CivilNet.
The National Security Service again invited you for questioning and you again refused to give testimony. Why?
I have only answered one question concerning my alleged guilt. I said I pleaded not guilty to charges filed against me. Moreover, I exercised my constitutional right and refused to testify at the NSS.
The ruling party accounts its decision to strip you of a parliamentary immunity and involve you in the criminal case as a defendant for its desire to give you an opportunity to prove your innocence.
The grounding is absurd. It testifies to the fact that the charges are politically motivated. I am sure that our legislators know that it is the prosecutor who must prove the guilt of the accused. Secondly, our Criminal Code is based on the presumption of innocence which implies that lawmakers should first address all their doubts to the prosecutor and then agree to his petition to strip an MP of his mandate. But it did not happen as there was a clear political order behind the charges.
You are speaking about a political order, persecution. Don't you want to link the recent developments with the upcoming presidential elections? Since your comeback to politics, your name has been circulated as a possible presidential candidate. Will BHK eventually nominate you or not?
The party has not taken an official decision regarding its candidate. I am expressing my opinion. Given the BHK's reputation in the country and public expectations from the party, I think that BHK should name its candidate during the presidential race. Naturally, that candidate should be BHK Leader Gagik Tsarukyan. If he does not want to run for presidency, and the party decides to nominate me, I am ready to shoulder the responsibly.
Don't you predict new pressures on Mr Tsarukyan, the party and yourself, if the party decided to field its candidate?
The issue should be viewed considering the interests of the country. The country will only benefit from our participation; people will have a real choice. Besides, the international community will treat us as a country that has taken the path of democracy.