The Russian Foreign Ministry [official website] released a statement [text] Wednesday expressing the government’s decision to withdraw its signature from the Rome Statute[text], effectively leaving the International Criminal Court (ICC) [official website]. In its statement, the government expressed disdain over the ICC’s current investigation into possible crimes [ICC materials] committed by Russian forces in South Ossetia in 2008. The statement also condemned the ICC for its expenditures and alleged ineffectiveness. Russia first signed the Rome Statute in 2000.
Russia is the latest of several nations to withdraw from the ICC. South Africa officially announced its intent to withdraw from the ICC in October and submitted a bill to withdraw [JURIST reports] in November. A few days after the announcement, Human Rights Watch criticized [JURIST report] South Africa for the decision. Shortly after South Africa’s announcement, the Gambian government announced [JURIST report] that it will be leaving the ICC. Earlier in October Burundi voted to withdraw [JURIST report] from the ICC amid criticism the court only prosecutes African nationals. Also in October the ICC president stated [JURIST report] that such withdrawals “represent a setback in the fight against impunity and the efforts towards the objective of universality of the Statute.”