The Armenian National Assembly will debate on October 3 the ratification of the Rome Statute, a founding treaty of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which issued an arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin last March for alleged war crimes.
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The corresponding document was included in the agenda of the parliamentary session, although at the moment the exact date of its possible approval is unknown, a parliamentary source informed EFE.
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The Legal Affairs Committee of the unicameral Parliament approved this bill this Thursdaydespite Russia’s rejection.
Its approval would, on the one hand, allow Yerevan to file lawsuits against Azerbaijan, which it accuses of war crimes in the Nagorno-Karabakh region populated by Armenians but belonging to that country.
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However, It would also force Armenia to comply with ICC rulings such as the one issued on March 17, by ordering the arrest of the head of the Kremlin.
The possible ratification of the Rome Statute by Yerevan would further aggravate its relations with Moscow, which Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinan accused of abandoning Armenia to its fate in the face of the Azerbaijani threat.
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According to Armenian deputy Eguishé Kirakosyan, member of the Legal Affairs Committee, Yerevan plans to retroactively recognize the jurisdiction of the ICC as of May 10, 2021, a date he linked to “Azerbaijan’s aggression against Armenia and serious war crimes.” “.
Kirakosian acknowledged that this has generated unrest in Russia and pointed out that Yerevan proposed to Moscow “the signing of a bilateral agreement regarding the application of the Rome Statute, on the basis of which the parties undertake to offer mutual guarantees regarding matters of greatest concern”.
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On March 24, the Constitutional Court of Armenia ruled that the commitments that the republic would have to assume if it acceded to the Rome Statute must correspond to the country’s legislation, which would allow Yerevan to ratify it.
Pashinian has pointed out that this decision is not directed against Russia, but rather seeks to guarantee Armenian security.
“This decision is our sovereign right. We made the decision on ratification in December 2022 when it was clear to everyone that the instruments of the (post-Soviet alliance) Collective Security Treaty Organization and the strategic partnership between Armenia and Russia are not enough to guarantee our safety,” he said.
Russia stated this Thursday that it would be “very hostile” for Armenia to ratify the Rome Statute. “These decisions are very hostile to us,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov in his daily press conference when asked about the Armenian Parliament’s decision.
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He added that in Armenia knows perfectly well that Russia is not a signatory of the Statute and is aware of the “difficult to understand” decision (of the ICC) to issue an arrest warrant against the head of the Kremlin last March..
We trust that such decisions (ratification) will not negatively influence our bilateral relations (with Armenia).
“We are confident that such decisions (ratification) will not negatively influence our bilateral relations (with Armenia), because this is a status of which we are not participants nor do we recognize,” Peskov said.
Asked if Putin plans a trip to Armenia soon, the spokesman replied: “No.”
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The Russian president abstained from attending the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) summit held in South Africa last August after the South African Justice announced that it would execute the ICC arrest warrant.
*With information from EFE
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