President Vladimir Putin has signed an order to have Russia withdrawn from the International Criminal Court (ICC) amid calls for his military to be referred over air strikes backing President Bashar al-Assad in Syria and the annexation of Crimea, the UK’s Independent reported on Wednesday in its online edition.
Russia’s withdrawal follows the move by Burundi, South Africa and Gambia, which have all pulled out of the Hague, Netherlands-based international tribunal.
Russia signed the Rome Statute in 2000, but never ratified it. The Rome Statute is a legal document that led to the ICC creation in 2002.
“The International Criminal Court has not justified hopes placed upon it and did not become a truly independent and authoritative judicial body,” a spokesperson for the Russian foreign ministry was quoted by the Independent as saying in a statement.
Russia consistently advocates that people guilty of grave offences must be held accountable and took part in developing laws against genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, the statement added.
While Burundi, Gambia and Russia are being ruled by ruthless dictators, South Africa’s fear of the ICC remains a mystery, and the government’s reasons about leaving the ICC had failed to convince local and international critics.
Russia’s withdrawal move is likely to generate a lot of debate about Putin’s excessive abuse of power, with many observers wondering how far he can go to extend his dictatorial wings.
However, recent calls by France, US and other major powers to launch an investigation on Russian military’s war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria and Ukraine might have sent the chill down Putin’s spine, and triggered the pull out move.
Photo: Russia warship Admiral Kouznetsov cruises into the Mediterranean Sea to boost Syria’s Bashar Al Assad’s firepower. Credit: Reuters