President Vladimir Putin signed an executive order removing Russia’s signature from the International Criminal Court’s founding treaty, piling pressure on a court that is already reeling from withdrawals by some African countries. Moscow never ratified the treaty, which it signed in 2000, meaning it never became a member subject to its jurisdiction. But the symbolic move coincided with the opening day of the general assembly of member states.
- The ICC angered Moscow by referring to Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea as an armed conflict. It is also examining allegations of war crimes committed by Russian and Georgian forces during a brief 2008 war.
- Unfortunately, the court has not justified the hopes attached to it and has not become a genuinely independent authoritative organ of international justice.
- Russia is under international pressure over its campaign of air strikes in Syria, with some human rights activists and U.S. officials accusing it of bombing civilians and civilian targets. Russia has denied those allegations.
- The ICC, based in The Hague, Netherlands, was founded when 120 countries adopted its founding treaty in 1998. It is seen as a successor to the Nuremburg trials after World War II and ad-hoc U.N. war crimes tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.