Armenia joins International Criminal Court: Bad news for Putin | the world

Armenia has formally become a state party to the International Criminal Court (ICC), an official source announced on Thursday, a decision seen as unfriendly by its traditional ally Russia.


Last Updated:
31-01-24, 22:29


“The Rome Statute (creating the ICC) officially entered into force for Armenia on February 1,” Armenian representative for legal affairs Yekishe Kragosyan told AFP, which Russia had already described as an “unfriendly decision”.

Armenia must arrest Putin now

In March, the International Court of Justice in The Hague issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin for organizing or authorizing the illegal deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia. Yerevan must now arrest the Russian president if he steps foot on its territory. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in October that Armenia had made a “bad decision” to ratify the Rome Statute.

PM tries to appease Russia

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan sought to allay the Kremlin's fears by assuring that the decision was not against Russia. “By joining the ICC, Armenia equips itself with serious tools to prevent war crimes and crimes against humanity,” said Mr. Kragosyan promised. “After all, it's about Azerbaijan,” he added, adding that Armenia has fought two wars in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

The gap between Yerevan and Moscow is widening

But Armenia's decision illustrates a widening rift between Moscow and Yerevan, which has criticized Russia's inaction in the long-running conflict between Armenia and its neighbor, Azerbaijan. In September, Azerbaijani forces invaded Nagorno-Karabakh, where Russian peacekeepers were stationed, in a lightning strike that confirmed the surrender of Armenian separatist forces that had controlled the region for decades.

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The Treaty of Rome was signed in 1999

Armenia signed the Rome Convention in 1999, but has not ratified it, citing conflicts with the country's constitution. The Constitutional Court said in March that these restrictions were lifted after Armenia adopted a new constitution in 2015.

“The world is shrinking” for Putin

In October, Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, welcomed the law's approval, declaring that “the world is shrinking for Kremlin autocracy.” For independent analyst Vigen Hagopian, Armenia undoubtedly uses the ICC to obtain security guarantees from the West. “But, obviously, he suffered without getting his ties to Russia,” he told AFP.

Jurisdictions of the International Criminal Court

Created in 2002, the ICC investigates and, where appropriate, prosecutes those accused of the most serious crimes affecting the entire international community: genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of aggression.

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