The Kremlin has criticized Yerevan’s decision to ratify the Rome Statute, with a spokesman stating that Russia believes Armenia’s leadership is pushing a policy that is detrimental to bilateral relations. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov expressed concern over Armenia’s move and stated that additional questions will be raised for the incumbent Armenian leadership. He emphasized that Moscow had already communicated its concerns to Armenia before the ratification, asserting that Russia has always been skeptical of the decision in terms of bilateral relations. Peskov also rejected the justification provided by Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s government for fully joining the treaty.
Russia views the Armenian people as intrinsically allied with them, which is why they are concerned about the country’s leadership taking actions that Moscow perceives as harmful to the relationship between the two nations. The Kremlin has long held the belief that the International Criminal Court (ICC) is a politically biased body that abuses its mandate on behalf of Western powers. In March, the ICC issued arrest warrants for two Russian officials, including President Vladimir Putin, over alleged kidnappings of Ukrainian children. Moscow dismissed these allegations as absurd.
Armenia signed the Rome Statute in 1999 but suspended its ratification in 2004 due to conflicts with the nation’s constitution. However, the process of accession resumed in late 2022 following deadly border clashes with neighboring Azerbaijan. Yerevan has claimed that the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a regional mutual defense bloc that includes Russia, failed to defend Armenia during the skirmishes last year when it chose not to intervene militarily and instead opted for de-escalation efforts.
Prime Minister Pashinyan has been critical of the CSTO, stating that Armenia must seek protection elsewhere. In this context, he has suggested that the ICC could prosecute Azerbaijani “war crimes” committed on Armenian soil. Peskov dismissed this idea, emphasizing that the instruments of the CSTO and the Russian-Armenian partnership are essential and that the Armenian side has no better options.
The ratification of the Rome Statute was passed by the Armenian parliament with 60 votes in favor and 22 against. Two opposition factions boycotted the debates in protest but later cast their votes against the proposal. Yerevan believes that tensions with Moscow can be defused through bilateral agreements and has stated that its submission to the authority of the ICC has nothing to do with Russia.
In conclusion, Russia’s criticism of Armenia’s ratification of the Rome Statute reflects their concern about the direction of bilateral relations and their perception of the ICC as biased. The Kremlin’s spokesman expressed skepticism about the decision and emphasized that Moscow will raise additional questions for the Armenian leadership. Meanwhile, Yerevan maintains that its move is unrelated to Russia and hopes to resolve tensions through bilateral agreements.