Russia terminates relations with International Criminal Court

President Putin signed a decree on Russia's withdrawal from the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court after the latter called Russia's reunification with the Crimea an armed conflict. The document has been published on the official website of legal information.

The document says: "To accept the proposal from the Justice Ministry of the Russian Federation coordinated with Foreign Affairs Ministry of the Russian Federation and other federal executive bodies, with the Russian Armed Forces, Office of the Prosecutor General and the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation to send an intention to the UN Secretary General not to serve as a party in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, adopted by the diplomatic conference of plenipotentiaries under the auspices of the UN in Rome on 17 July 1998 and signed on behalf of the Russian Federation on September 13, 2000."

By order of the President, Russia's Foreign Ministry will send a notification to the Secretary General of the United Nations.

The activities of the International Criminal Court are based on the Rome Statute that came into force in 2002. The jurisdiction of the ICC applies only to the countries that have ratified the Rome Statute. Russia, like a number of other countries, signed the treaty establishing the ICC, but did not ratify the Rome Statute, as well as a number of other countries. Noteworthy, the United States initially signed the treaty of the ICC, but did not ratify the Rome Statute and subsequently withdrew its signature.

Thus, Russia, China, the USA, Ukraine and other countries that have not ratified the Statute, do not fall under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.

The International Criminal Court officially started its work in The Hague in the summer of 2002. The ICC is the first permanent international court that was established on a contractual basis to investigate grave crimes. The court is not a part of the UN, but it may initiate proceedings on proposals from the UN Security Council.

On November 16  it became known that the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Fatou Bensouda, ruled that the situation in the Crimea and Sevastopol was equivalent to an international armed conflict between Ukraine and the Russian Federation.

According to the Kremlin, the statement from the ICC about the international armed conflict between Ukraine and Russia was contrary to reality. "This wording is absolutely contrary to reality, it is contrary to our position, it is contrary to the position that the citizens of the Crimea expressed at the referendum, when they made the decision to become a part of Russia," Putin's press secretary Dmitry Peskov said.

According to Peskov, the assessment from the ISS about the conflict in the Donbass being an armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine contradicts to reality as well. "This is contrary to reality, because the conflict in the Donbass is a civil war in Ukraine - this is a Ukrainian domestic conflict," said Peskov.

The Russian Foreign Ministry described the work of the International Criminal Court as inefficient and biased. "Unfortunately, the court has not justified hopes, nor has it become a truly independent, authoritative body of international justice," a message from the department said.

"Here is an indicative fact: in 14 years of work, the ICC has produced a total of four sentences, having spent more than $1 billion on this work," the message from the Russian Foreign Ministry also said.

Russia has thus withdrawn its signature from the Statute of the ICC. The move will entail legal consequences provided for by the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties from 1969.

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov