Title: Armenia Ratifies ICC Statute, Strains Relations with Russia over Putin Arrest Warrant
In a significant move, Armenia’s parliament has formally ratified the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) founding statute, indicating its intention to join the court. However, this decision has sparked tensions with Russia, Armenia’s long-standing ally, as the ICC recently issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin over alleged war crimes in Ukraine.
A total of 60 deputies voted in favor of ratifying the ICC’s Rome Statute, while 22 voted against. This vote serves as a clear indication of the growing divide between Moscow and Yerevan, particularly due to Russia’s controversial invasion of Ukraine and its perceived inaction during Azerbaijan’s retaking of Nagorno-Karabakh.
The Kremlin has wasted no time in criticizing Armenia’s decision, raising concerns about President Putin’s future visits to the country. Russian officials fear that the ICC membership could potentially provide a platform for accusations against their leader, adding fuel to the already strained relationship between Armenia and Russia.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has been a source of frustration for the Kremlin, given his inclination to question Armenia’s reliance on Russia for security. Pashinyan’s decision to engage in joint military exercises with the United States has further widened the rift between the traditional allies.
Armenia’s ratification of the ICC statute is seen by many as a potential remedy for the war crimes committed by Azerbaijan in the ongoing conflict with Armenia. However, it is important to note that the ICC jurisdiction is not retroactive, meaning it cannot address crimes committed before Armenia’s membership.
This development reflects the shifting geopolitical dynamic in the region, with Armenia increasingly seeking to diversify its security partnerships and forge closer ties with international bodies like the ICC. Meanwhile, Russia is grappling with a change in leadership approach from its Armenian counterpart, causing further strain in their longstanding alliance.
As Armenia charts its course toward a potential ICC membership, all eyes will be on the repercussions this decision will have on the delicate balance of power in the region. While tensions with Russia persist, Armenia is determined to pursue justice for the war crimes it alleges Azerbaijan has committed, even if it means defying its traditional ally.