Armenia Formally Joins ICC


Armenia on Thursday, February 1 formally joined the International Criminal Court (ICC), officials said, in a move that traditional ally Moscow has denounced as “unfriendly”.

The Hague-based court in March issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin over the war in Ukraine and the alleged illegal deportation of children to Russia.

Yerevan is now obligated to arrest the Russian leader if he sets foot on its territory.

“ICC Rome Statute officially entered into force for Armenia on February 1,” the country’s official representative for international legal matters, Yeghishe Kirakosyan told AFP.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov had in October branded Armenia’s ratifying of the ICC’s founding Rome Statute a “wrong decision”.

Russia’s foreign ministry called it an “unfriendly step.”

Armenia is home to a permanent Russian military base and part of the Moscow-led military alliance, the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) that consists of several ex-Soviet republics.

Western countries hailed the ratification, which marks the expansion of the court’s jurisdiction into what was long seen as Russia’s backyard.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has sought to assuage Kremlin fears, saying the decision was not directed against Russia.

“Joining the ICC gives Armenia serious tools to prevent war crimes and crimes against humanity on its territory,” Kirakosyan said.

“First of all, this concerns Azerbaijan,” Yerevan’s arch-foe neighbour with which it has fought two wars over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.


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