Putin with­draws Rus­sia from In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

MOSCOW: Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin signed a de­cree yes­ter­day to with­draw Rus­sia from the In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court, which rules on such grave charges as geno­cide and crimes against hu­man­ity.

Rus­sia in 2000 signed the Rome treaty that es­tab­lished the Hague-based court but never rat­i­fied it. Putin’s de­cree, pub­lished on the Krem­lin’s web­site, comes a day after the UN Gen­eral Assem­bly’s hu­man rights com­mit­tee ap­proved a res­o­lu­tion con­demn­ing Rus­sia’s “tem­po­rary oc­cu­pa­tion of Crimea” and blamed Rus­sia for rights abuses such as dis­crim­i­na­tion against some Crimean res­i­dents, such as Tatars.

Rus­sia an­nexed Crimea in March 2014 from Ukraine fol­low­ing a hastily called ref­er­en­dum, a move that led to crip­pling West­ern sanc­tions. A sep­a­ratist in­sur­gency erupted in east­ern Ukraine the fol­low­ing month, backed by Rus­sia.

The ICC on Mon­day is­sued a pre­lim­i­nary re­port where it de­scribed what hap­pened in Crimea as “an in­ter­na­tional armed con­flict be­tween Ukraine and the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion.” His spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, ex­plained the with­drawal by “na­tional in­ter­ests” and ar­gued that since Rus­sia never rat­i­fied it Wed­nes­day’s de­cree was just a for­mal­ity. Peskov also dis­missed the ICC’s ac­cu­sa­tions of an “armed con­flict” in Crimea, ar­gu­ing that Crimea joined Rus­sia after a le­git­i­mate pop­u­lar vote.

Rus­sia’s for­eign min­istry in­sisted in a state­ment that Rus­sia wants ev­ery­one im­pli­cated in grave in­ter­na­tional crimes to face jus­tice but ex­pressed frus­tra­tion over the court’s work in re­cent years. “The court has un­for­tu­nately failed to match the hopes one had and did not be­come a truly independent and re­spected body of in­ter­na­tional jus­tice,” the min­istry said, adding that in the ICCs’ 14 years of work “only four ver­dicts” have been passed while $1 bil­lion was spent on ex­penses.

Just hours be­fore Rus­sia’s an­nounce­ment, the UN hu­man rights chief made a spir­ited de­fense of the ICC, en­treat­ing coun­tries not to leave it. Sev­eral African na­tions have re­cently an­nounced plans to leave the treaty. Jamey Keaten in Geneva contributed to this re­port.

SOCHI, RUS­SIA: Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin heads a meet­ing on mil­i­tary in­dus­try is­sues in the Black Sea re­sort on Tues­day.

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