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Armenian parliament votes in favor of joining ICC despite Russia's warning

Armenian lawmakers attend the session of the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia in Yerevan, Armenia, on October 3, 2023. (Photo via AP)

Armenia’s parliament has ratified the founding Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, subjecting the country to the jurisdiction of The Hague-based ICC amid strained ties with Russia.

According to a spokeswoman for parliament, 60 deputies voted in favor of ratifying the founding treaty of the ICC, and to adopt a statement on retroactive recognition of ICC jurisdiction during the Tuesday session.

Twenty-two mainly opposition lawmakers voted against joining the ICC which has issued an arrest warrant for Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Putin over alleged war crimes during the war in Ukraine. Moscow has consistently described the arrest warrant as outrageous and legally void.

Last week, the Kremlin had warned that Armenia’s plans to sign up to the International Criminal Court would worsen a growing rift with Moscow.

Speaking to reporters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that in light of the ICC warrant for Putin’s arrest on war crimes charges, joining the international legal pact would be seen as “extremely hostile” toward Russia.

“Armenia knows very well that we are not parties to the [Rome Statute], and Armenia is well aware of the difficult decision adopted on the basis of this statute,” he cautioned.

Relations between Russia and Armenia have been badly strained over the war in Ukraine. Yerevan also says Moscow failed Armenia by not providing more assistance to avert the crisis over Karabakh.

Armenia's neighbor Azerbaijan took full control of the breakaway region last month following a 24-hour military operation against pro-Armenian forces. Azerbaijan cited “systematic” shelling, “reconnaissance activities,” fortification of defensive positions, and “high-level of combat readiness” by Armenian-backed troops for its operation.

Karabakh, acknowledged as a part of Azerbaijan by the international community but populated by Armenians since 1992 when a separatist war broke out, has been at the center of a dispute between Baku and Yerevan for more than three decades.

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