IRKUTSK — The Deputy Speaker of Armenia’s National Assembly Hakob Arshakyan downplayed Russia’s concerns that Armenia’s accession to the Rome Statute could be directed against Russia.

“During the 37th session of the Armenian-Russian Inter-Parliamentary Commission on Cooperation in response to the concerns expressed by the Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council of the Russian Federation Yuri Vorobyov, Vice Speaker Hakob Arshakyan stated that the issue of Armenia’s accession to the Rome Statute is being actively discussed by experts of Armenian and Russian foreign ministries, and it is in no way directed against Russia, but will serve to prevent Azerbaijani encroachments on the sovereign territory of Armenia,” the press service of the Armenian National Assembly reported.

The Armenian parliament said Arshakyan expressed confidence that a legal solution of the issue acceptable to Armenia and Russia will be found. He also emphasized that the process of ratification of the Rome Statute had started much earlier than the decision made by the International Court of Justice against the Russian President.

“This circumstance proves that the process could not and cannot be directed against Russia in any way,” the National Assembly said.

Vorobyov brought up the issue during the meeting held in the Siberian city of Irkutsk. He referred to the Armenian Constitutional Court’s decision in March to give the green light for parliamentary ratification of the treaty, also known as the Rome Statute.

“While we proceed from the assumption that this step by our Armenian partners does not have an anti-Russian subtext, in practice it is causing significant damage to Russian-Armenian relations,” Russian news agencies quoted Vorobyov as saying.

“We call on our allies to once again carefully consider the implications of joining the Rome Statute and assess potential risks to allied relations with Russia,” he told deputy speaker Hakob Arshakyan and other members of the Armenian parliament attending the meeting.

Armenia signed the Rome Statute in 1998, but has not ratified it after the Constitutional Court in 2004 found that the treaty’s obligations contradicted several provisions of the Constitution in effect at the time.

In late 2022, the Armenian government asked the Constitutional Court to examine the constitutionality of the Rome Statute.

According to the government, the ratification of this document would allow it to initiate legal proceedings against Azerbaijan (for war crimes committed in Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia) at the ICC.

On March 24, Armenia’s Constitutional Court ruled that the country’s obligations under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) comply with the Basic Law.

On March 17 of this year, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for ‘war crimes’ for Russian President Vladimir Putin  and Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia’s commissioner for children’s rights, who according to an ICC statement ‘bear individual criminal responsibility for the abduction and deportation of Ukrainian children since Russia’s full-scale invasion began in February last year.’

Russia was quick to warn Armenia against ratifying the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) following the “illegal” arrest warrant issued by it for Russian President Vladimir Putin, a Russian Foreign Ministry source told TASS.

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