Russia’s Obligation Not to Defeat Object and Purpose of Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

Giorgi Bagdavadze


Russia signed the Rome Statute on 8 September 2000. After the International Criminal Court commenced an examination of the alleged commission of international crimes during the Russian invasion in Georgia and Ukraine, Russia unsigned the Statute and ceased any co-operation with the Court which endangered international investigation and turns the object and purpose of the Statute, i.e. enforcement of international justice, redundant. The current Article argues that Russia, through unsigning the Rome Statute amid the ongoing investigation, violated Article 18 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties for three reasons: a) the normative nature of the Rome Statute triggers distinct regime from the general contracts; b) such special regime is recognised by the Russian Constitutional Court; c) Russia’s subsequent practice created legitimate expectation for the ratification of the Rome Statute. These aspects make Russian case different form unsigning the Statute by the USA. The current research examines the complex issue on the relationship between Article 18 of the VCLT and normative multilateral treaties and offers the solution for complications raised by Russia’s unsignment of the Rome Statute through answering the main question – whether Russia is still obliged to honour Rome Statute for cases originated before 16 November 2017.

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