21 Jul 2023 20:23

Armenian, Russian parliamentarians discuss possible ratification of ICC Rome Statute by Yerevan

YEREVAN. July 21 (Interfax) - Parliamentarians from Armenia and Russia have met in Irkutsk to consider Yerevan's possible ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The inter-parliamentary commission for cooperation between the two national parliaments held the meeting, which was chaired by Russia's Federation Council deputy speaker Yury Vorobyov and his Armenian counterpart Akop Arshakyan, on Friday, the Armenian parliament's press service said.

"The meeting touched on the process relating to Armenia's ratification of the Rome Statute. The [commission] stressed the importance of not doing damage to the Armenian-Russian strategic relationship," the statement said.

This relationship is currently developing according to the principles of allied cooperation, Arshakyan said.

In response to Vorobyov's concerns about ratification, Arshakyan said that the issue was now being actively discussed by experts in the Armenian and Russian Foreign Ministries, the press service said.

"Arshakyan noted that this [possible ratification] was by no means directed against Russia, but [instead] will be aimed at preventing Azerbaijani encroachment on Armenia's sovereign territory. He expressed confidence that a legal solution acceptable to both Armenia and Russia will be found. Arshakyan stated that the process of ratifying the statute began long before the ICC decision against the president of Russia. This circumstance attests to the fact that the process could not and cannot possibly be directed against Russia," the statement said.

In mid-June, the Armenian government told Interfax that the statute would be sent to parliament for ratification in the very near future.

In April, the Armenian parliament speaker Alen Simonyan voiced his opposition to a quick ratification of the document, saying that this would be wrong with respect to Russia.

Armenia signed the Rome Statute in 1998. In late 2022, the government asked the Constitutional Court (CC) to rule on whether it conformed with the country's Fundamental Law. On March 24 the CC ruled that the obligations under the Statute were constitutional.

On April 1, Arshakyan said that Yerevan could sign an agreement with Moscow aimed at preventing the Rome Statute from damaging the two countries' strategic relations.

In March 2023, an ICC pre-trial chamber issued arrest warrants for Russia's President Vladimir Putin and children's ombudsman Maria Lvova-Belova. Moscow dismissed the court's decision as void and unlawful, and placed the judge and the prosecutor who were involved in the decision-making process on Russia's wanted list.