ISHR: Russia undermines the prosecution of war criminals

USA should recognize the International Criminal Court

Frankfurt (16 November 2016) – Just a few hours before the acting US President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Barack Obama arrives in Berlin, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has withdrawn cooperation from the International Criminal Court. On this occasion, the International Society for Human Rights (ISHR) appeals to the United States to recognize and support the International Criminal Court in The Hague. A world power such as the United States cannot ignore this court. By not recognizing the court, Russia and the US put themselves on par with countries such as Zimbabwe, Sudan or Iran, according to the IGFM.
Human rights activists call on President-elect, Donald Trump, to use his term in office in the service of human rights. On November 16, 2016, Russia’s President Putin signed a decree, which will lead to the country’s complete withdrawal from the statute. The presumed cause for the withdrawal is accusations of human rights violations by Russian soldiers in Syria and Crimea.

The ISHR calls on the 45th US President, Donald Trump, to initiate the recognition of the international court directly on the assumption of office on January 20, 2017. The US has a great responsibility concerning human rights. A sign of goodwill would  be to ratify the Rome Statute and the associated commitment to the indivisibility of human rights. In addition to the USA, North Korea and Uzbekistan have denied the Criminal Court, and as of today, Russia as well. Russia signed the Statute on September 13, 2000, but had not ratified it.

Photo: OSeveno via Wikimedia Commons

The Rome Statute and the International Criminal Court

The statute signed in July 1998 is the basis for the International Criminal Court. The Statute defines the function and structure of the Court of First Instance and the rules of the case-law. The court examines and prosecutes crimes, such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression. So far, 124 States have ratified the Rome Statute. Burundi, Gambia and South Africa will step out of the Rome Statute in 2017 and thus no longer recognize the International Criminal Court. Now, Russia also wishes to do so.