On October 3, 2023, the Armenian parliament ratified the Rome Statute, the founding treaty of the International Criminal Court (ICC). This decision was met with criticism from Russia, which is not a member of the ICC.
The Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said that Armenia’s decision to join the ICC was “wrong” and that it would “not contribute to the development of bilateral relations.” He also expressed concern that Armenia’s accession to the ICC could lead to “politically motivated” investigations against Russia.
Armenia’s decision to join the ICC is seen as a move to strengthen the country’s commitment to human rights and the rule of law. It also comes at a time when Armenia is facing ongoing tensions with Azerbaijan, which is not a member of the ICC.
The ICC is a court of last resort that investigates and prosecutes individuals accused of the most serious crimes of international concern, including genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. The ICC has jurisdiction over individuals from countries that are members of the Rome Statute, as well as individuals from countries that have accepted the ICC’s jurisdiction.
Russia is not a member of the ICC and has not accepted the ICC’s jurisdiction. In 2016, Russia withdrew its signature from the Rome Statute.
It remains to be seen how Armenia’s decision to join the ICC will affect its relationship with Russia. However, the decision is a significant step for Armenia and for the ICC.