The FINANCIAL — This new chapter in Armenia’s history not only reinforces the system of the Rome Statute on which the Court’s mandate is based, but also safeguards accountability at the global level, International Criminal Court said in official statement.
Armenia signed the Rome Statute in 1999 but has not ratified it. In 2004, the Constitutional Court ruled that portions of the Rome Statute violated the country’s constitution, but since then, the constitution has changed. On March 24, a few days after the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Putin for alleged war crimes against Ukraine, the Constitutional Court concluded its monthslong deliberations and—citing constitutional changes since 2004—removed the legal obstacle to Armenia’s ratification of the Rome Statute and membership in the ICC. This moves the issue into the political arena, putting the responsibility for the momentous step on the Armenian National Assembly.
“PGA and its members worldwide have played a crucial role in promoting the universal ratification of the Rome Statute. The Secretariat of PGA notably proved its commitment during a mission to Armenia, highlighted by the participation of Ms. Frederika Schweighoferova, Director of PGA’s International Law and Human Rights Program, in the Human Rights and Accountability – a path forward for Nagorno-Karabakh Conference convened by the Center for Truth and Justice from May 3-5, 2023, in Yerevan.
PGA reaffirms its pledge to support Armenian parliamentarians and parliamentarians worldwide in their collective endeavor toward universal justice. As Armenia takes this significant step, the international community must stand united in the pursuit of a more just and accountable world, both for today and for future generations”.
Armenian PM blames Russia for failing to ensure security
Armenia can no longer rely on Russia as its main defence and military partner because Moscow has repeatedly let it down so Yerevan must think about forging closer ties with the United States and France, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said.
Armenia, a former Soviet republic bordered by Georgia, Azerbaijan, Iran and Turkey, has long relied on Russia as a big power ally and hosts a Russian military base in Gyumri, about 90 km (55 miles) northwest of the capital, and other facilities.
Pashinyan says Russia failed Armenia when Azerbaijan last year launched a lightning-fast military operation that took back control over the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh enclave, triggering an outflow of ethnic Armenians living there.
Year ago, Russia warned Armenia of “serious consequences” if it submits to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC) which has issued an arrest warrant for President Vladimir Putin.
The ICC warrant has the potential to complicate Putin’s global travel plans if a country he wants to travel to is an official party to the Rome Statute.
Vladimir Putin may not see the inside of a cell in The Hague any time soon, but his war crimes arrest warrant could hurt his ability to travel freely and meet other world leaders, who may feel less inclined to speak to a wanted man.
Putin is just the third head of state to be indicted by the International Criminal Court while still in power.
Moscow’s ties with Yerevan have deteriorated in recent months however over what Armenia says is Russia’s failure to fully uphold a 2020 ceasefire treaty it helped broker between Armenia and Azerbaijan to end a war over Nagorno-Karabakh – an Armenian-populated region of Azerbaijan.
Moscow has defended the actions of its peacekeepers, who have so far not intervened to end what Armenia says is a partial blockade by Azeri activists of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Russia has a mutual defence pact with Armenia and has been a traditional power broker in the South Caucasus region, but is facing increasing competition for influence from the United States, the European Union and Turkey.
Public attitudes toward Russia are also in decline. Although 50 percent of Armenians still consider Russia one of their country’s most important political partners, it now trails behind France, Iran, and the United States.
Membership in the ICC would give Armenia new legal tools to utilize in its efforts to constrain Azerbaijan.
Sudan’s former president Omar al-Bashir and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi are the only other leaders to have been indicted by the ICC while serving as head of state.
Apart from the ICC, several former leaders have been tried by other international courts. Among notable cases:
Slobodan Milosevic, former president of Serbia and Yugoslavia, became the first former head of state to appear before an international tribunal since World War Two when he was tried at a U.N. court for alleged crimes during the 1990s Balkan wars. He died in custody in 2006 before a verdict was reached.
Liberian former leader Charles Taylor was found guilty of war crimes in 2012 by the U.N.-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone in The Hague, the first former head of state to be convicted of war crimes by an international court since the Nuremberg trials of Nazi leaders after World War Two.
Former Kosovo President Hashim Thaci, one of Milosevic’s adversaries in the 1990s Balkan wars, left office after being indicted for war crimes by the Kosovo war crimes tribunal in The Hague.