Armenia on Thursday formally joined the International Criminal Court.
“ICC Rome Statute officially entered into force for Armenia on February 1,” Armenia’s official representative for international legal matters, Yeghishe Kirakosyan told AFP.
“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,” he noted.
Armenia signed the Rome Statute in 1999 but did not ratify it, citing contradictions with the country’s constitution.
The constitutional court last March said that those obstacles had been removed after Armenia’s adoption of a new constitution in 2015.
Last November, Yerevan formally deposited its instrument of ratification of the Rome Statute.
The Kremlin was quick to assert its dissatisfaction with Armenia’s decision to apply to the court.
Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told the RIA Novosti news agency that while Armenia has a the right to join international bodies, “for us it is important that such decisions do not negatively impact, both de jure and de facto, our bilateral relations, which we value and hope to further develop.”
Armenia’s ratification of the Rome Statute caused concerns in Moscow.
In March, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for President Vladimir Putin of Russia, charging him with war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Ukraine. The ICC arrest warrant for Putin accuses the Russian leader of unlawfully deporting children. Russia has denied these accusations.
Countries that are signatories to the Rome Statute would have to enforce the arrest warrant once Putin travels into their territory. Earlier, the Russian Foreign Ministry described Armenia’s decision to join the ICC as an “unfriendly step” and asked for explanations.
Armenian government officials on numerous occasion have said that ratifying the Rome Statute has nothing to do with Russia and is aimed at holding Azerbaijan accountable for its aggression against Armenia.
(c) 2024, Asbarez