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Sudan Tribune

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Sudan welcomes Russia’s withdrawal from war crimes court

Russia's President Vladimir Putin waves to photographers as he leaves the Itamaraty Palace after attending the final day of the BRICS Summit in Brasilia, Brazil, on July 16, 2014 (AP Photo)
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin waves to photographers as he leaves the Itamaraty Palace after attending the final day of the BRICS Summit in Brasilia, Brazil, on July 16, 2014 (AP Photo)

November 16, 2016 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese government on Wednesday has welcomed Russia’s decision to withdrawing its signature from the founding statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

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.

“The court has unfortunately failed to match the hopes one had and did not become a truly independent and respected body of international justice” said Russia’s Foreign Ministry in a statement Wednesday.

Russia signed the Rome statute of the ICC in 2000 but did not ratify the treaty and thus remained outside the ICC’s jurisdiction.

Moscow’s decision comes a day after the ICC published a report classifying the Russian annexation of Crimea as an occupation.

In a statement on Wednesday evening, Sudan’s Foreign Ministry welcomed Moscow’s decision, saying it gives strong support to the African stance against the Hague-based tribunal.

“[Russia’s] decision is a major step on the road to achieve large-scale international consensus to withdraw from this tribunal which has become a mere political tool exploited by some Western powers to achieve its own interests at the expense of the values” read the statement.

Several African governments and the African Union (AU) have voiced concerns over the ICC’s fairness, and accused it of targeting African leaders.

They further to say that war crimes court has violated its founding treaty the Rome Statute, when it prosecutes cases investigated by the national jurisdiction.

The 27th AU summit held in the Rwandan capital Kigali last July did not call for a mass withdrawal from the court, despite calls by several African leaders including Sudan.

However, an African Union ministerial committee is debating the issue and is expected to present reform demands at the next meeting of ICC assembly of states parties, in November.

Last month, three African countries who were all full members of the ICC – South Africa, Burundi and Gambia – said that they intend to withdraw from the Hague-based court, alleging it is biased.

Sudan which is not a state member to Rome Statute has been campaigning for an African withdrawal from the ICC which has charged President Omer Hassan al-Bashir with ten counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide connected to the Darfur conflict.

Established in 2002 to try war criminals and perpetrators of genocide never tried at home, the ICC has opened inquiries involving nine nations, including Kenya, Ivory Coast, Libya, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Uganda, Mali and, most recently, Georgia.

(ST)