On February 8, at the International Criminal Court, the official welcoming ceremony dedicated to the membership of Armenia as the 124th signatory of the Rome Statute took place.
At the launch of the event, the ceremony of raising the flag of the Republic of Armenia took place, after which the President of the International Criminal Court Piotr Hofmański, the President of the Assembly of States Parties to the ICC Päivi Kaukoranta delivered congratulatory remarks, followed by the statement of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan.
Within the framework of the ceremony, the President of the International Criminal Court handed over a copy of the special edition of the Rome Statute to the Foreign Minister of Armenia.
The ceremony was also attended by the ICC Prosecutor General, a number of representatives of the diplomatic corps accredited in The Hague, from about 60 diplomatic representations, the President of the Association of Journalists, as well as other guests.
On February 8, in The Hague, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan had a meeting with the President of the International Criminal Court Piotr Hofmański.
President Hofmański congratulated Armenia on its membership in the International Criminal Court. The interlocutors exchanged views on issues related to the implementation of the Rome Statute, the court’s founding document. Minister Mirzoyan noted that the Republic of Armenia has already initiated the necessary steps in that direction.
Ararat Mirzoyan emphasized that Armenia, as a country which has been facing the severe consequences of impunity in the region, is well aware of the imperative to combine efforts in order to fight against continuous impunity and prevent crimes against humanity. This understanding was also behind the decision to complete the process of Armenia’s membership in the ICC.
During the meeting, issues on stability and security in the South Caucasus were also touched upon.
Statement of Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan at the official welcoming ceremony for Armenia
“Honourable President of the Court,
Madame President of the Assembly,
Judges and Deputy Prosecutors,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In 1998, the international community made a historic decision to put an end to the most serious international crimes by adopting the Rome Statute. In 2023, Armenia ratified the Rome Statute with a sincere belief in its high power to eliminate the most serious crimes and end the impunity. On the 1st of February, the Rome Statute entered into force for Armenia. A fundamentally important occasion that brings us here today. I am grateful to each of you for sharing this special day with us.
The Nuremberg Tribunal stated at its time “crimes against international law are committed by men, not abstract entities, and only by punishing individuals who commit such crimes can the provisions of international law be enforced”. As we embark on this journey, let us embrace the responsibility that comes with ensuring that no one is above the law. Today, the International Criminal Court stands as a bastion against the horrors of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of aggression. In this regard, Armenia’s consistent cooperative approach to the ICC is based on the following major objectives: 1) preventing the most serious crimes which are of concern to the international community as a whole, 2) strengthening the rule of law in the international community, 3) achieving more universality of the ICC.
Armenia believes that it is extremely important to establish an international judicial system which ensures punishment for persons who have committed genocide and other serious crimes. For decades, Armenia has been an initiator and pioneer in the processes of prevention and condemnation of the crime of genocide, both within the framework of the United Nations and other international organizations and forums long before acceding to the International Criminal Court.
ICC’s role in crime prevention and ensuring fair and impartial justice process for peaceful resolution of conflicts is significant. Unfortunately, in our region, we were confronted not only by complete unwillingness to resolve the issue by peaceful means but also with a clear intent to proliferate war, hatred and terror. Continued aggressions against the Republic of Armenia and occupation of our sovereign territories, heinous atrocity crimes perpetrated against Armenians, ethnic cleansing of Nagorno Karabakh, as a result of which over 100.000 Armenians had to escape their homes to find shelter in Armenia, had devastating humanitarian consequences and continue to pose imminent risks for our region. In this context, we are convinced that the Rome Statute among other mechanisms has real potential to prevent any further escalation and atrocities, becoming a milestone towards stability and sustainable peace in our region.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We highlight the Court’s important role for delivering justice to victims of unimaginable atrocities, giving them a voice by enabling them to participate in its proceedings, providing assistance and awarding reparations. There is no doubt that the Rome Statute and the ICC, in the quest for accountability, have contributed greatly to the effective functioning of the international criminal justice system.
Today, let us celebrate not only Armenia’s commitment but also the shared vision of a world where justice prevails, and the dignity of every individual is protected. As a new State Party to the Rome Statute Armenia will be an active member of the Court and will significantly contribute to the works of the Assembly of the States Parties. Together, we move forward in solidarity, bound by the ideals of the Rome Statute, as we strive for a future defined by fairness and the rule of law.