Armenian Parliament Votes to Join ICC, Straining Relations with Russia
Armenia’s parliament has recently voted in favor of joining the International Criminal Court (ICC), a move that is expected to further strain relations with Russia. This decision carries significant implications, as it theoretically obligates Armenia to arrest Russian President Vladimir Putin if he enters their territory. Putin has been indicted for alleged war crimes associated with the deportation of children from Ukraine.
Of the 82 deputies present during the vote, 60 voted in favor of joining the ICC, while 22, mostly opposition lawmakers, voted against. While Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan attempted to assure Russia that the decision was not specifically directed against them, Moscow has already deemed it an affront.
Interestingly, the French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna was in Yerevan on the same day as the vote. She expressed her support for Armenia’s decision to join the ICC and pledged future assistance from France. Colonna’s presence and positive remarks aim to highlight France’s willingness to stand by Armenia and potentially deepen the rift between Armenia and Russia.
The decision to join the ICC comes amid rumors that Pashinyan is actively seeking alternative alliances following the 2020 conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. In the conflict, ethnic Armenians experienced significant territorial losses to Azerbaijan. This event has contributed to souring relations between Armenia and Russia, with Armenia accusing Russian peacekeeping troops of failing to prevent hostilities, consequently allowing Baku to seize control of Nagorno-Karabakh.
In light of these recent developments, an official from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) described the streets of Nagorno-Karabakh as “surreal,” with the majority of the ethnic population having fled to Armenia. The capital of Nagorno-Karabakh now only hosts a few hundred residents, mainly consisting of the sick, disabled, and elderly.
Refugees who have managed to escape the conflict have shared harrowing accounts of the dire situation in Nagorno-Karabakh before Azerbaijan’s takeover. They reported food shortages and a lack of access to basic necessities, exacerbating the already challenging circumstances.
Armenia’s decision to join the ICC marks a significant shift in its foreign policy and may further strain its relationship with Russia. The move also highlights the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh and the desperate situation faced by its remaining residents. As the international community watches these events unfold, the implications for regional stability and the future of diplomatic alliances remain uncertain.
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