ICC: Russia Joins Others To Reject Court

The 15th General Assembly meeting of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is holding at The Hague.


The International Criminal Court (ICC) continues to register rejections as Russia  on November 16, 2016 joined the United States of America, Burundi, South Africa and the Gambia to withdraw from the court’s treaty. Russian President Vladimir Putin has approved an order to withdraw the nation from the process of joining the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The decision came after an ICC ruling that Russia’s activity in Crimea amounted to an « ongoing occupation », BBC reports. The court ruled that Russia’s 2014 takeover of the Crimea peninsula had been an armed conflict between it and Ukraine, meaning  the annexation fell under the court’s jurisdiction. Government spokesman Dmitry Peskov is quoted as saying that the wording « contradicts reality », while the foreign ministry called the court « one-sided and inefficient ».

Russia has found itself the subject of the court’s focus on more than one occasion. As such, earlier this year, the court authorised an investigation into the 2008 Russia-Georgia conflict in South Ossetia. The Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda in response to the Russian decision said « We owe it to future generations not to abandon the ICC. » Indeed, the court was established to pass judgement on four international crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression.

Russia is said to have signed the Rome statute, which governs the ICC, in 2000 but never ratified the agreement to become a member. The Russian decision is another blow on the court. Reports say the US initially signed the Rome statute under the Clinton administration but later withdrew, under the leadership of George W Bush.  Sudan and Israel have also withdrawn their signatures in the past, while other nations – including China and India – have rejected membership outright. Several African countries have  also reportedly expressed doubt over the court’s future, amid allegations that it is too focused on countries within the continent.

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