THE HAGUE — The International Criminal Court (ICC) held a special ceremony today to welcome Armenia as the 124th State Party to the Rome Statute, the ICC’s founding treaty.

Before the ceremony Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan raise the flag of Armenia next to the flags of other member states.

Within the framework of the ceremony, the President of the International Criminal Court, Piotr Hofmański, handed over a copy of the special edition of the Rome Statute to the Foreign Minister of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan.

Addressing the ceremony, ICC President Piotr Hofmański thanked Armenia for joining the Court, for “making it stronger,” and for showing an example to all those who are yet to recognize the Rome Statute.

“Armenia’s ratification of the Rome Statute is a significant decision. It is indeed a brave decision. Armenia has now joined the community of states committed to the notion of the most cries of concern, the international community,” he said.

“Armenia has now joined the community of states committed to the notion that the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole must be answered with justice,” the President added.

“The purpose of the ICC is to help put an end to impunity and to contribute to the prevention of future crimes. But the ICC is only as strong as the commitment of the international community to its mandate. That commitment is built step-by-step, brick by brick. I’m grateful to the Republic of Armenia for adding its own brick to the permanent pillar of international criminal justice that the ICC is,” Judge Piotr Hofmański said.

He noted that Armenia is now obliged to cooperate fully with the ICC in accordance with the provisions of the Rome Stature, and participate in financing the Court’s budget.

“I do hope other countries will follow Armenia’s footsteps to join the Rome Statue. Universal ratification of the Rome Statute must remain our goal, even if the road to it is very difficult,” he stated, noting that all states should join it for their own benefit and for the benefit of all humanity.

“The International Criminal Court stands as a bastion against the horrors of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of aggression. In this regard, Armenia’s consistent cooperative approach to the ICC is based on the following major objectives – preventing the most serious crimes, which are of concern to the international community as a whole; strengthening of the rule of law in the international community; achieving more universality of the ICC,” Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan said, in turn.

“Armenia believes that it is extremely important to establish an international judicial system, which ensures punishment for persons who have committed genocide and other serious crimes. For decades, Armenia has been an initiator and pioneer in the processes of prevention and condemnation of the crime of genocide both within the framework of the United Nations and other international organizations long before acceding to the International Criminal Court,” he said.

Unfortunately, the Minister said, “in our region we were confronted not only by complete unwillingness to resolve the issue by peaceful means, but also with a clear intent to proliferate war, hatred and terror.”

“Continued aggression against the Republic of Armenia and occupation of our southern territories, heinous crimes perpetrated against Armenians, ethnic cleansing of Nagorno Karabakh, as result of which over 100 000 Armenians had to escape their homes to find shelter in Armenia, had devastating consequences and continue to pose imminent risks for our region,” Ararat Mirzoyan stated.

 

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