Russia says it will withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) under a directive signed by President Vladimir Putin.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said the ICC had “failed to meet the expectations to become a truly independent, authoritative international tribunal,” in a statement released Wednesday.
It described the ICC as “ineffective,” adding that “during the 14 years of the court’s work it passed only four sentences having spent over a billion dollars.”
Russia also criticized the court’s handling of the country’s five-day conflict with neighboring Georgia in 2008, saying “we can hardly trust the ICC in such a situation.”
ICC spokesman Fadi El Abdallah said in a statement that “membership of the Rome Statute is a voluntary and sovereign decision which is the prerogative of all states,” adding “the ICC is respectful of each states’ sovereignty.”
Under Wednesday’s directive, President Putin instructed his Ministry of Foreign Affairs to inform the UN Secretary General that Russia no longer intends to become a state party to the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the ICC.
Russia signed the treaty in 2000, but did not ratify it, according to the Russian Legal Information Agency. The Rome Statute has been ratified by 123 countries.
The US also previously signed the treaty, but under the Bush administration told the United Nations in 2002 it had “no intention” of ratifying it.
Based in the Hague, Netherlands, the ICC comprises 124 states from around the world. It is the “court of last resort” and tries four types of crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, crimes of aggression and war
This year South Africa, Gambia and Burundi also took actions to quit the International Criminal Court, according to the Russian Legal Information Agency.