High Court’s Recommendation Coincides with ICC’s Arrest Warrant for Putin
Armenia’s Constitutional Court on Friday ruled that the provisions of the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the International Criminal Court, are in compliance with Armenia’s Constitution.
The decision, announced by Constitutional Court Chief Justice Arman Dilanyan, will have to be ratified by Parliament.
Dilanyan said that justices Hrayr Tovmasyan, Arayik Tunyan and Yervand Khundkaryan expressed “special opinions,” which the chief justice said were reservations.
The timing of this decision by the Constitutional Court coincides with a decision by the Hague-based International Criminal Court to issue an arrest warrant for President Vladimir Putin of Russia charging him with war crimes for the alleged unlawful deportation of thousands of Ukrainian children.
The legal move will obligate the court member-states to arrest Putin and transfer him to The Hague for trial if he sets foot on their territory.
The Kremlin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov on Friday said that Yerevan has yet to clarify its position regarding the ICC warrant for Putin.
“We will discuss this with our partners,” Peskov told the telegram channel of the Podyom news agency.
The Armenian government re-launched the process of ratifying the Rome Statute in December.
The Rome Statute is the treaty that established the International Criminal Court. It was adopted at a diplomatic conference in Rome on July 17, 1998 and it entered into force on July 1, 2002. There are 123 member-states to the ICC, including several European countries. At the time of the court’s founding, the administration of President George W. Bush stated that it would not join the ICC. The Obama administration subsequently re-established a working relationship with the Court as an observer.
According to Armenia’s Justice Minister Grigor Minasyan informed the government in December that Armenia signed the Rome Statute on October 1, 1999 and called on the government to apply to the Constitutional Court to check the statute’s compliance with Armenia’s present-day constitution, adopted in 2015. In 2004, Armenia’s high court ruled that the statute contradicted the constitution, which was adopted in 1995.
Presenting the case in December, Minasyan said the Rome Statute must be ratified given the fact that starting in May 2021 the Azerbaijan committed an act of military aggression and invaded the sovereign territory of Armenia and with Azerbaijani troops still deployed in various parts of sovereign territories of Armenia.
On September 13 and 14 of 2022 Azerbaijan again launched a massive military attack against various parts of sovereign territory of Armenia, which led to hundreds of civilian and military deaths. Severe war crimes were perpetrated during these attacks, Minasyan said at the time.
“Furthermore, judging by Azerbaijan’s conduct and belligerent statements, the risk of new Azerbaijani military aggression against Armenia remains high,” Minasyan told the government in December, adding that in these conditions ratifying the Rome Statute is highly important because that would make the Azerbaijani crimes, including war crimes committed in Armenia subject to the International Criminal Court’s jurisdiction, which would be a preventive and restraining measure against Azerbaijan.