Russia’s Foreign Ministry finds Armenia’s intent to ratify the treaty establishing the International Criminal Court (ICC) ‘inadmissible’, Russian state news agency TASS reports.
TASS cited an unnamed source from the ministry as saying that Yerevan’s intent to ratify the Rome Statute could have ‘extremely negative consequences’.
Armenia’s Constitutional Court greenlit the ratification process on Friday, a week after the ICC issued arrest warrants for President Putin and Russian Children’s Rights Comissioner Maria Lvova-Belova for the deportation of children from Ukraine to Russia.
‘Moscow considers Yerevan’s plans to officially join the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court absolutely unacceptable against the backdrop of the recent illegal and legally void “warrants” of the International Criminal Court against the Russian leadership’, TASS quoted the source as saying.
Armenia signed the treaty in 1998, but in 2004, the Constitutional Court deemed that it contradicted the country’s constitution.
While the constitution has since been amended several times, members of the opposition have claimed that the articles the Rome Statute appeared to be incompatible with have not fundamentally changed.
Armenia began discussions over the Rome Statute in late December 2022 with the intent of taking Azerbaijan to the ICC over the two-day war in September and several other clashes.
Following the fighting in September, several videos surfaced online appearing to show Azerbaijani soldiers summarily executing Armenian captives. Other footage showed the mutilation of an Armenian soldier by Azerbaijani troops.
[Read more: Azerbaijan ‘investigating’ new POW execution footage]
The ICC has the power to investigate allegations of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and the crime of agression.
Azerbaijan has not signed the Rome Statute, while Russia signed the agreement in 2000 but never ratified it, withdrawing its signature in 2016.
In order to ratify the statute, the Armenian government must appeal to parliament within three months of the Constitutional Court’s decision.
Parliamentary Speaker Alen Simonyan expressed support for the ratification, saying Armenia ‘needs to join the treaty […] to bring the leader of a country that has launched a war against us before the Hague tribunal’.
While not directly answering a question about whether Putin would be arrested if he visited Armenia, Simonyan said he could not imagine other countries arresting Putin.
‘Let’s ratify it, let’s finish it. The Russian president will come, and then we’ll see’, he said.