ArmInfo. The problem of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and Armenia has both a legal dimension and a political one, believes Sergey Markedonov, Leading Researcher at the Euro-Atlantic Security Center, Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO).
As regards the facts as such, he recalled that on March 24, 2023, Armenia's Constitutional Court ruled constitutional the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
This event would most likely have been crowded out by the information flow and remained one of the insignificant facts of a small state's legal routine.
"However, a week before the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Presidential Commissioner for Children's Rights Maria Lvova-Belova, which stirred up the interest in the Armenian Constitutional Court's ruling," he said.
Amid the growing global "vulgarization trends," this event is now being viewed in the context of the question: "Will the Russian leader be arrested if he wants to arrive in Yerevan?"
"However, simplifying the patterns does not at all mean understanding complicated problems better. Problem of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and Armenia has both a legal dimension and a political one. Let us consider both," the expert said.
In this context, he pointed out that it is not for the first time that Armenia's Constitutional Court has considered this issue, which is not at all tightly linked with the "Putin case." Back in 2004, Armenia's Constitutional declared the Rome Statute unconstitutional.
"Yerevan signed the Rome Statute in 1999, but it has not so far ratified it. It should be noted that the Constitutional Court's ruling is not ratification. It is the National Assembly's prerogative. After 2004, Armenia saw two constitutional reforms, in 2005 and in 2015. The reason for Yerevan's interest in the International Criminal Court is that Armenia's authorities (and the political establishment as such) are seeking to hold Azerbaijan accountable, following the Balkan pattern. And Armenia's government applied to the Constitutional Court in 2022. Do the Armenian authorities' attempts to press Baku by means of international legal institutions appear naive? They do. Armenia's expert community and society as a whole are 'legally fetishistic'. As if policy met certain 'standards' rather than interests. Following the Balkan pattern requires unqualified support for one of the sides by Collective West, with the other side marginalized in the same manner," Mr Markedonov said.
However, nothing of the kind can be seen in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. That is why the belief in abstract rights and justice appears unjustified - at least here and now. On the other hand, the expert warns against seeing only "Armenia's reorientation" to the West and "its geopolitical U-turn."
"Russia and Armenia are facing many challenges now. Yerevan is torn between 'national minimalism' and de facto renunciation of Karabakh and its desire to 'catch hold of Artsakh'. And this way is sometimes marked by strange zigzags - and not only westward, but also eastward (Iran, India). Russia wants certainty and is concerned over Yerevan's contacts with Washington, Brussels and Paris, as well as over the EU mission in Armenia's territory. And in this context, emotions often outweigh a rational analysis. Who benefits from disagreements between Russia and Armenia? Who would be happy about barricades between Moscow and Yerevan? It is most likely Russia's enemies," Mr Markedonov said.
They are "rubbing their hands" as they see the two states' high-ranking officials "exchanging civilities." The expert warns against playing into the hands of "such forces."
"They had better settle thorny issues behind closed doors. No one has cancelled traditional diplomacy yet. And let Macron and Co do tweeting. They are good at that. We should focus on substantive issues. And I would like to say again: the Armenian Constitutional Court's ruling is only formal endorsement of compliance of some papers with others. A political decision is still ahead," Mr Markedonov said.