DAHK3X The Hague NL International criminal court.

YEREVAN (Azatutyun) — Russia on Monday, March 27, bluntly warned Armenia against ratifying the founding treaty of the International Criminal Court (ICC) following the “illegal” arrest warrant issued by it for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Moscow has notified Yerevan that such a move would have “extremely negative” consequences for Russian-Armenian relations, a Russian diplomatic source told the official TASS and RIA Novosti news agencies.

“Moscow considers absolutely unacceptable official Yerevan’s plans to join the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court against the backdrop of the recent illegal and legally void ‘warrants’ of the ICC against the Russian leadership,” said the unnamed source.

The unusually stern warning came three days after Armenia’s Constitutional Court paved the way for parliamentary ratification of the treaty signed by a former Armenian government in 2004. The court ruled that the Rome Statute conforms to the Armenian constitution.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s government has not yet clarified whether it will now send the treaty to the Armenian parliament for ratification. Armenian law gives it up to three months to make such a decision.

The government had asked the Constitutional Court to pass judgment on the ICC treaty in December after indicating plans to appeal to The Hague tribunal over Azerbaijan’s military attacks on Armenian territory launched since May 2021.

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Some opposition figures in Yerevan have linked the court ruling to the ICC’s recent decision to issue the arrest warrant for Putin over war crimes allegedly committed by Russia in Ukraine. They claim that Pashinyan wants to score points among the Western powers amid unprecedented friction between Moscow and Yerevan.

Russian-Armenian relations have deteriorated in recent months because of what the Armenian government sees as a lack of Russian support in the conflict with Azerbaijan.

Legal experts believe that recognition of the ICC’s jurisdiction would commit Yerevan to arresting Putin in case of his visit to Armenia.

Earlier this week, a Russian law-enforcement agency opened a criminal case against an ICC prosecutor and judges who issued the “illegal” arrest warrant.

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