"Facilitating the arrest of Putin is in the interest of Armenia." Opinion
Human rights activist on Putin’s extradition
“Facilitating Putin’s arrest is in the interest of Armenia,” Artur Sakunts, head of the Vanadzor office of the Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly, said. It does not rule out that the Russian president may resort to a provocation and visit Armenia to check the mood, whether he will be arrested.
Sakunts says that if, after the decision of the Hague Court regarding Putin, the Armenian authorities refuse to complete the process of ratification of the Rome Statute, which has already begun, “they will lose the opportunity to apply to the International Criminal Court as with a lawsuit against Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.”
The International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin and Russian Children’s Ombudsman Maria Lvova-Belova. Both are now suspects in the illegal deportation and displacement of Ukrainian children.
The Court was established by a treaty called the Rome Statute. All countries that have ratified the treaty are required to extradite Putin if the latter is on their territory. Armenia has signed the Rome Statute but has not yet ratified it. The ratification process started 2-3 months ago.
On the side of the accused or on the side of international law
Artur Sakunts says that Armenia should not be concerned about Putin’s fate, but rather Armenia’s interests. He says that Armenia is a victim of gross violations of international law, as “the Aliyev regime has carried out and is carrying out aggression against the country,” and without the ratification of the Rome Statute Armenia will not be able to apply to the International Criminal Court. According to Sakunts, “two authoritarian regimes, Russia and Azerbaijan, have similar value systems.”
As for the decision of the International Criminal Court, Sakunts says that wherever Putin appears now, he will create “a headache for that country.” Moreover, he believes that the Russian president could commit a provocation and come to Armenia on purpose.
“The decision of the International Criminal Court has put a question before the Armenian authorities: are you on the side of someone accused of committing a crime against humanity, or are you on the side of the law,” he said.
“The situation in the region remains tense” – Pashinyan at meeting with Putin
A regular meeting between the Prime Minister of Armenia and the President of Russia took place in Bishkek. Recently they have been meeting frequently, but there is less and less information from the negotiations each time.
Deviating from the ratification process would have ‘serious consequences’
Senior Armenian officials have revealed that Armenia began the process of ratifying the Rome Statute late last year, even before the court issued a warrant for Putin’s arrest.
Sakunts warns that if the country’s authorities decide to retreat on the basis of “political expediency”, the democratic community will not be able to perceive Armenia as a reliable partner:
“We will find ourselves, to put it mildly, in a miserable position; we will remain in the status of an ally of a fascist regime – where Belarus is now. And such regimes have no allies, they only have subordinates, colonies, zones of influence.”
According to Sakunts, the ratification of the Rome Statute will give Armenia the opportunity to integrate into the field of international law and institutions, which will allow the country’s authorities to “resist the colossal pressure that Russia is now exerting.”
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Human rights activist about Putin’s arrest