16, November 2016
Russia has decided to withdraw its signature from the founding statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), saying the tribunal has failed to live up to the hopes of the international community. In a statement issued on Wednesday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said it would pull out from the ICC following a decree by President Vladimir Putin, who decided for Moscow not to be “a participant in the ICC statute.”
The statement said the main reason for the withdrawal was the ICC’s way of treating Russia’s brief war with neighboring Georgia in 2008, adding that the international tribunal had ignored Georgia’s aggression against pro-Moscow civilians in the separatist region of South Ossetia. “In these conditions one cannot speak of trust in the International Criminal Court,” the ministry said, calling the ICC’s work as “one-sided and inefficient.”
The statement also slammed the ICC’s lack of independence in dealing with war cases, saying “The court did not live up to the hopes associated with it.” Russia has yet to ratify the Rome Statute that set up the ICC, the world’s first permanent war crimes court. The government has only been a signatory to the treaty since 2000.
The decision by Moscow to pull out from the ICC could further complicate the situation surrounding the court as several African members, such as South Africa and Burundi, have already decided to withdraw from the tribunal, saying it is biased and lacks justice. Gambia has also notified the United Nations that it would leave the ICC next week.