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Armenia formally joins ICC

by Rachel Amran February 1, 2024 12:39 AM 2 min read
Flag with the logo of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on March 29, 2022, in The Hague, Netherlands. (Photo: Alex Gottschalk/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
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Armenia formally joined the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Jan. 31, months after ratifying the Court's Rome Statute, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported on Jan. 31.

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

The country formally ratified the treaty back in October. All ICC members must ratify the treaty to establish the court's jurisdiction.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said Armenia had "made the wrong decision" after the country ratified the Statute three months ago. Russia's Foreign Ministry called it an "unfriendly step."

Armenia is now one of 124 countries obliged to arrest Russian President Vladimir Putin if he steps foot in national territory. The ICC issued the Russian leader an arrest warrant back in March 2023 for his role in the mass deportation of Ukrainian children.

Back in November, local media reported that Armenia had invited Russia to sign a bilateral agreement that would allow Yerevan to bypass rules relating to the ICC's arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin. The proposal was reportedly initiated months before the ratification.

The agreement would reportedly ensure that "ratification would not affect our relations."

Armenia first signed the Rome Statute in 1998 but failed to ratify it. The process resumed in 2022.

The decision to formally join the ICC comes in the wake of Azerbaijan's victory over the self-declared ethnic Armenian Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, which was defeated by Azerbaijani forces on Sept. 20.

Russian "peacekeepers" were stationed in the area to stop violence between Armenians and Azerbaijanis, but did nothing to prevent Azerbaijan's Sept. 20 offensive. Tensions between Armenia and their long-time ally Russia have since risen.

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