Will the last country left in the International Criminal Court please turn off the lights?
Russia has said it is formally withdrawing its signature from the founding statute of the international criminal court, a day after the court published a report classifying the Russian annexation of Crimea as an occupation.
The repudiation of the tribunal, though symbolic, is a fresh blow to efforts to establish a global legal order for pursuing genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
In recent months, three African countries who were all full members of the ICC – South Africa, Burundi and Gambia – have signalled their intention to pull out, following complaints that ICC prosecutions focused excessively on the African continent.
The Russian foreign ministry made the announcement on Wednesday on the orders of the president, Vladimir Putin, saying the tribunal had failed to live up to hopes of the international community and denouncing its work as “one-sided and inefficient”.
To be fair, Russia never ratified the ICC treaty so this isn’t like the other three cases, and to be even more fair Russia clearly pulled its signature out of sheer self interest with respect to Crimea. But still, it must be getting kind of lonely at The Hague these days.