Based in The Hague, the ICC is the first permanent international tribunal tasked with prosecuting war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and military aggression. Armenia was among 120 countries that signed its founding treaty, the Rome Statute, in 1998.
The Armenian parliament has still not ratified it, however. In 2004, the country’s Constitutional Court ruled that the treaty runs counter to several provisions of the Armenian constitution which guarantee national sovereignty over judicial affairs.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian’s government decided on Thursday to ask the court to again look into the Rome Statute and determine its conformity with the constitution. Justice Minister Grigor Minasian argued that the constitution has been twice amended since 2004.
Most of the current Constitutional Court judges have been installed by Pashinian’s political team.
Minasian said that parliamentary ratification of the treaty would allow Yerevan to appeal to the ICC over Azerbaijan’s military attacks on Armenian territory launched since May 2021.
“The consequences of that aggression are still there because Azerbaijani troops remain deployed in various parts of Armenia’s sovereign territory,” he said, adding that The Hague tribunal can take up the case even if Baku does not accept its jurisdiction.
Azerbaijan denies that its troops seized Armenian territory and committed war crimes during clashes on the border between the two South Caucasus states. More than 300 soldiers from both sides were killed during two days of heavy fighting that broke out there in September.
The United States has publicly urged Baku to “return troops to their initial positions.” France has likewise demanded the Azerbaijani troop withdrawal.