Syrian Coalition: Russia’s Withdrawal from ICC Statute Aimed at Evading Justice

Officials in the Syrian Coalition said that Russia’s announcement that it was formally withdrawing its signature from the founding statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) is designed “to evade accountability for the war crimes its forces are committing against civilians in Syria.”

Member of the Syrian Coalition’s political committee Mohammed Jojah said that “Moscow’s complicity in too many war crimes has left it with no other option but to seek to evade accountability for these crimes.”

The Russian move bears the signs of further escalation of its aggression on Syria, Jojah said. He warned of a new wave of Russian bloody attacks on Syrian civilians.

ICC is an international intergovernmental organization and tribunal that sits in The Hague in the Netherlands. It began functioning on 1 July 2002, the date that the Rome Statute entered into force. The ICC has the jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

The Rome Statute, a multilateral treaty which serves as the ICC’s foundational and governing document, was adopted by the UN General Assembly on July 17, 1998.

Russia signed the Rome Statute in 2000 and cooperated with the court, but had not ratified the treaty.

Member of the Syrian Coalition’s legal committee of Yasser Farhan said that human rights organizations have provided compelling evidence of Russia’s complicity in hundreds of war crimes in Syria. He said that the Russian move clearly indicates intentions to carry on with these crimes. Farhan warned that the Russian decision weakens the credibility of the international community and international organizations.

(Source: Syrian Coalition’s Media Office / 16.11.2016)

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