The Region in Brief

March 22, 2023 - March 29, 2023


Russia has warned Armenia against ratifying the founding treaty of the International Criminal Court (ICC). “Moscow considers absolutely unacceptable the plans of official Yerevan to accede to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court against the backdrop of the recent illegal and legally void ‘warrants’ of the ICC against the Russian leadership,” an anonymous source from the Russian Foreign Ministry told TASS Russian state news agency on March 27. The source said that the Armenian side was warned of the “extremely negative” consequences of this decision. The Armenian Constitutional Court ruled on March 24 that the statute is compatible with Armenia’s constitution, paving the way for its ratification. The decision came a week after the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin on allegations of deporting children from Ukraine to Russia. Armenia initiated the process of ratifying the ICC statute in December 2022 in order to appeal to the Hague court to prosecute Azerbaijan for war crimes. 


Azerbaijani MP Fazil Mustafa was attacked by a gunman on Tuesday. Mustafa has been hospitalized after an unknown assailant shot him with a Kalashnikov assault rifle in the shoulder and leg outside of his home near Baku. The State Security Service has opened an investigation on terrorism and weapon charges. Politicians have been speculating about the identity of the attacker. MP Vahid Ahmadov suggested that Iran had organized the attack, following Azerbaijan’s decision to open an embassy in Israel. Tensions between Azerbaijan and Iran have been rising recently, partly due to Iran’s support for Armenia following Azerbaijani attacks on its border. MP Hikmet Babaoglu implied that Armenia and Russia were involved in the attack. 


Pro-government TV channel POSTV has targeted former employee Tatia Samkharadze, who won a sexual harassment suit against its founder Shalva Ramishvili back in 2018. Since March 20, seven more women have come forward with sexual violence accusations against Ramishvili. “This is a man who would lure young girls with job offers at his TV station, close the office door, and try to satisfy his dirty fantasies,” Samkharadze said. POSTV accused Samkharadze of accepting money from the opposition United National Movement to organize a campaign against Ramishvili. The channel also said that Samkharadze had been kidnapped by UNM member Dmitri Chikonavi and showed up at his house with the police, who conducted a search. Samkharadze said she has not been kidnapped and accused the police of “acting in unison with POSTV journalists to intimidate and silence women victims.” On March 27, Samkharadze said that POSTV journalists were stalking her apartment. 

Lillian Avedian

Lillian Avedian

Lillian Avedian is the assistant editor of the Armenian Weekly. She reports on international women's rights, South Caucasus politics, and diasporic identity. Her writing has also been published in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Democracy in Exile, and Girls on Key Press. She holds master's degrees in journalism and Near Eastern studies from New York University.

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