In a major blow to Putin, Armenia chose to join the ICC. Photo/Illustration
YEREVAN – President Vladimir Putin had to receive a heavy blow after one of Russia’s allied countries chose to join the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Armenia’s parliament has voted to join the ICC in a move that will further worsen relations with Russia.
The ICC has issued an arrest warrant against Vladimir Putin, meaning any country under its jurisdiction would be obliged to arrest him if he set foot on their soil.
The decision will further worsen relations with Moscow, Armenia’s long-standing ally. Relations between the two have been seriously damaged by the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine and Azerbaijan’s recapture of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Armenian lawmakers voted to ratify the Rome Statute by a vote of 60-22. The decision will then be handed over to the Armenian president, who will have to prepare a ratification document, which will then be deposited with the UN Secretary General. The decree takes effect 60 days after ratification, according to Armenian lawmakers.
Armenia began the process of joining the ICC more than 20 years ago, but in 2004 the Constitutional Court ruled that the Rome Statute was contrary to the country’s constitution at the time, bringing the process to a halt. The Armenian Constitution has been amended twice since then.
In March, Armenia’s Constitutional Court ruled that the obligations of signatories to the Rome Statute were in line with the existing constitution.
Armenia’s envoy on international legal issues, Yegishe Kirakosyan, said Yerevan decided to continue the process of joining the ICC because of Azerbaijan’s alleged aggression against Armenia. Armenian officials last year accused Azerbaijan of killing a number of Armenian prisoners of war, an allegation that Azerbaijan vowed to investigate.
Yerevan wants the ICC’s jurisdiction to take effect from May 10, 2021, but under the ICC’s founding agreement, Armenia will likely have to make a separate declaration to implement this.