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Russia withdraws support from international court in Hague

Kremlin takes back signature on ICC founding statute, says body is ‘one-sided and inefficient’

The International Criminal Court in The Hague, August 22, 2016, at the trial of alleged al-Qaeda-linked Islamist leader Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi over the destruction of historic mausoleums in the Malian desert city of Timbuktu. (AFP/ANP/Patrick Post)
The International Criminal Court in The Hague, August 22, 2016, at the trial of alleged al-Qaeda-linked Islamist leader Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi over the destruction of historic mausoleums in the Malian desert city of Timbuktu. (AFP/ANP/Patrick Post)

MOSCOW — Russia said Wednesday it is formally withdrawing its signature from the founding statute of the International Criminal Court, saying the tribunal has failed to live up to the hopes of the international community.

Russia in 2000 signed the Rome Statute setting up the ICC, the world’s first permanent war crimes court, but never ratified the treaty.

“The court did not live up to the hopes associated with it and did not become truly independent,” Russia’s foreign ministry said, describing its work as “one-sided and inefficient.”

Moscow said it is unhappy with the ICC’s treatment of the case on Russia’s short war with neighboring Georgia in 2008, saying the court ignored aggression by Tbilisi against civilians in South Ossetia — a pro-Moscow separatist region of Georgia.

“In these conditions one cannot speak of trust in the International Criminal Court,” the ministry said, adding that the decision to “not be a participant in the ICC statute” was taken by President Vladimir Putin and entails “withdrawing the signature from this document.”

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