February 21
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Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan did not clearly answer The Telegraph's international commentator Roland Oliphant 's question that if Russian President Vladimir Putin arrives in Armenia, will he be arrested along the lines of Armenia’s recent joining the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

"First of all, I want to say that the Republic of Armenia started the process of joining the Rome Statute in December 2022, and that decision was conditioned by the assessment of changes in our security environment. We ratified the Rome Statute, among other things, analyzing the consequences of the September 2022 war and noting that there are some cracks in our security system. In that sense, we also ratified the Rome Statute as an additional factor to increase Armenia's security level. I understand that it was a difficult time period, and we made that decision because it was a difficult period. That decision serves to increase the security level of Armenia," the premier said.

Pashinyan added that as for the legal nuances, he cannot carry out a legal analysis right now because that's the job of lawyers.

"I think, as I said, Armenia as a responsible state should adhere to all its international commitments, including the commitments it has in relations with the Russian Federation, the commitments it has in relations with the international community. By the way, there are various opinions and legal analyzes on that topic, and in particular, the lawyers who say that the current heads of state have immunity, insurmountable immunity, due to their status are not just a few. I mean, it's a legal issue, not a political issue that I have to discuss and respond to," he said.

When Oliphant asked that if Putin comes to Armenia, will the Armenian police arrest the Russian President and send him to The Hague, Pashinyan responded that he does not make decisions about who should be arrested and who should not be arrested in Armenia.

“Let me open a secret to you. Since 2018, many large-scale democratic reforms have started in Armenia, and I do not make decisions about who should be arrested and who should not be arrested. There is an established legal order in Armenia, there are legal institutions, and in all cases the legal institutions of Armenia are the ones who make such decisions. For that we have the Prosecutor's Office, we have courts, we have the Investigative Committee and so on. It is very important that, being a member of the Eastern Partnership, the Republic of Armenia stands out especially for institutional reforms of having an independent judicial system. There is rule of law in the Republic of Armenia, the Prime Minister has his powers in the Republic of Armenia. Under no circumstances those powers include the solution of the question whether this person should be arrested or not. All of that is done through legal procedures," the Armenian PM said.

Oliphant reiterated his question, stating that it might put Pashinyan in a bit of an awkward situation, but is it possible for him to simply call Putin and tell him just not to come to Armenia because he cannot promise that the Russian president will not be arrested in Armenia.

In response, Pashinyan said: " I don't think that Vladimir Vladimirovich [Putin] needs my advice."

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