Peace Plan: take Israel to the ICC for crimes against Armenians

Mary Shiraef
3 min readOct 27, 2023

First off, I want to share a great panel about the crisis for the people of Artsakh in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh hosted by the Nanovic Institute for European Studies at the University of Notre Dame, which you can watch or listen to in retrospect.

I recommend it! I know it’s exhausting to keep up with the soul-crushing events all over the world, and we often have to disengage to protect our mental health. But being informed is the first step to knowing how and when we can use our power to stand up to bullies, including international ones.

I attended virtually and learned a lot thanks to the amazing panelists at Notre Dame and in Armenia and from Mary Trachian-Bradley’s personal perspective. (Mary attended live with me during her work lunch in the US, and I attended during my “late cocktail” hour in Greece.)

Note: there is nothing wrong with learning about human atrocities with a glass of wine in your hand and a super-informed girlfriend in your ear. In fact, the benefit of doing so is that you can listen/watch again and still learn something new! If anyone wants to watch this again with me, I’d be down.

What I don’t *think* was covered in the panel and is important to highlight, in any case, is that:

Israel supplied the weapons that enabled Azerbaijan to threaten forcibly a population based on their ethnic identity. Israel supports Azerbaijan for financial reasons. The relationship is extraordinarily corrupt, as described openly between US and Israeli officials in 2009.

No war is justifiable, but this was a clear violation of international law.

Neither Israel nor Azerbaijan can be trusted to respect human rights, and its state leaders must be held accountable for this atrocity by the International Criminal Court.

If this is how Israel behaves internationally for financial reasons, I am terrified of how they will act closer to home, in what is left of Palestine, for ideological reasons.

The sooner, the better. We need to signal the world is watching.

The ICC is the proper body for this, based on action and intent, because Israel donated the weapons on multiple occasions when the specific timing clearly evidenced these weapons would be used to kill and forcibly displace Armenians.

Note: it is possible to stand with Israeli people AND prosecute their state leaders for human rights violations.

Waxing on about who is and is not condemning who does not matter. Personally, I condemn violence against humans. And I do not “stand with” any state on the topic of war or violence. Self-defense is defending oneself; it is not a justification for invading another state or performing retributive killings. But calling for condemnations in a time of war is a waste of text. Active peace is the only way forward.

Peacemaking decisions can’t be made, however, in the fight-or-flight mode of war or self-defense. Thus, the international community must call for an immediate ceasefire by all parties in occupied Gaza and Israel — as Amnesty International has just done.

To add credibility to the demand, I posit that we should simultaneously hold Israel’s and Azerbaijan’s leaders accountable for their most recent crimes against the Armenian people. Armenia is already making moves to join the ICC — much to the chagrin of Putin, who has an arrest warrant out for his crimes against Ukrainian people.

Peace is the path. 🩷 Individual accountability is the answer. ✌ Focusing resources within the international community to get this done instead of in national militaries makes more sense.

This is my (ever-developing, lightly researched) view. What have I missed, though; what else do you think we can do, beyond finding inner peace and flashing peace signs, to create human security together?

Two days after Putin invaded Ukraine, I performed a mini peace ceremony by placing a wreath, hand-made by my local fixer, on a cannon in southern Albania’s Butrint National Park — currently one of the most peaceful places on earth.

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Mary Shiraef

Everyday Researcher, Occasional Teacher. I write here about the people, experiences, and businesses that bring me joy and occasionally, the politics that don't.