Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday approved a decree declaring that his country will not become a member of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
In his decree, Putin ordered Russia’s Foreign Ministry to inform the UN of his decision.
The decision came after an ICC ruling that Russia’s activity in Crimea amounted to an “ongoing occupation.”
Earlier this week, the international court had released a statement saying it was considering Russia and Ukraine to be involved in an armed conflict, with Crimea as occupied territory.
Russia had in 2000 signed a treaty to establish the court, but the country did not ratify an agreement to join.
Russia’s withdrawal is coming barely months after three African countries who were all full members of the ICC – South Africa, Burundi and Gambia – signalled their intention to pull out, following complaints that ICC prosecutions focused excessively on the African continent.
The United States had initially signed the Rome statute under the Clinton administration but later withdrew, under the leadership of George W Bush.
Sudan and Israel have also withdrawn their signatures in the past, while other nations – including China and India – have rejected membership outright.
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Russia may also be concerned about ICC jurisdiction in Syria, where its forces have been repeatedly accused of carrying out war crimes in recent months.