Russia announces plans to withdraw its support from International Criminal Court treaty

The Russian Foreign Ministry says the court 'failed to meet expectations'

Russia announces plans to withdraw its support from International Criminal Court treaty

Picture by Mike Corder AP/Press Association Images

Russia has announced that it plans to withdraw its support from the statute governing the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Russia had signed the Rome Treaty - which brought the court into operation - in 2000, but says it will now not be ratifying the agreement.

The US and Israel are among the countries to have previously refused to ratify the treaty.

In a statement, the Russian Foreign Ministry said: "Russia has been consistently advocating prosecuting those responsible for the most serious international crimes. Our country was at the origins of the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals, participated in the development of the basic documents on the fight against genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes."

The statement suggests the ICC - as a the first permanent body focused on international criminal justice - "inspired high hopes of the international community in the fight against impunity in the context of common efforts to maintain international peace and security, to settle ongoing conflicts and to prevent new tensions".

However, the ministry adds: "The Court failed to meet the expectations to become a truly independent, authoritative international tribunal. The work of the Court is characterized in a principled way as ineffective and one-sided in different fora, including the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council.

"It is worth noting that during the 14 years of the Court's work it passed only four sentences having spent over a billion dollars."

The statement expresses disappointment with the ICC's investigation into the conflict in neighbouring Georgia.

The court is also investigating the conflict in Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014.

The withdrawal comes only a day after UN member states approved a resolution condemning Russia's 'temporary occupation' of the region.

There have also been international calls - led by the US - for war crime investigations into Russia's actions in Syria.