16 November 2016
"The statement that Russia does not intend to become a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which it signed in 2000 but never ratified, is a huge blow to international justice", said the human rights defenders from Amnesty International on 16 November 2016.
A spokesperson for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the ICC could not become 'truly independent, authoritative institution of international justice' and had failed to live up to the hopes placed in it.
“It is hard not to see this as an attempt by Russia to undermine the progress towards international justice. This decision was apparently made with lightning speed, just hours after the ICC Prosecutor said that the situation within the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol may amount to an international armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine", said Sergei Nikitin, head of the representative office of Amnesty International in Russia.
"Russia never demonstrated any genuine intention to ratify the Rome Statute, and this announcement appears as nothing but contempt for the aims of the ICC – putting an end to impunity for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity – and is an affront to all victims of these appalling crimes,” he added.
Amnesty International consistently condemned the repeated efforts made by Russia to block in the Security Council initiatives to engage the ICC prosecutor in the investigation of the situation in Syria, Amnesty International also identified possible war crimes committed by Russian forces during the conflict in Syria.
"As Russia had not ratified the Rome Statute little will change in practice; however the decision is an alarming indication of Russia’s unwillingness to cooperate with international justice systems," Sergei Nikitin said.
"Russia’s claim that the ICC has ‘failed to live up to the hopes of the international community’ is completely cynical, given that it is the threat of a Russian veto in the UN Security Council which on repeated occasions has blocked referrals to the Prosecutor of the ICC, including Syria. The ICC is far from perfect, but this statement comes across as a disingenuous attempt by Russia to dodge responsibility for some of its failings", said the human rights defender from Amnesty International.
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