Europe

ICC supporters call for unity after withdrawals, Russia snub

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin heads a meeting with senior military officials at the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016. A massive modernization effort has turned nation's military power, that was a crumbling and demoralized structure just a few years ago into a more modern and agile force of 1 million. (Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

    Russian President Vladimir Putin heads a meeting with senior military officials at the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016. A massive modernization effort has turned nation's military power, that was a crumbling and demoralized structure just a few years ago into a more modern and agile force of 1 million. (Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Nov. 27, 2013, file photo, prosecutor Fatou Bensouda waits for the start of the trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands. U.S. armed forces and the CIA may have committed war crimes by torturing detainees in Afghanistan, the International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor said in a report Monday, Nov. 14, 2016, raising the possibility that American citizens could be indicted even though Washington has not joined the global court. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)

    FILE - In this Nov. 27, 2013, file photo, prosecutor Fatou Bensouda waits for the start of the trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, Netherlands. U.S. armed forces and the CIA may have committed war crimes by torturing detainees in Afghanistan, the International Criminal Court's chief prosecutor said in a report Monday, Nov. 14, 2016, raising the possibility that American citizens could be indicted even though Washington has not joined the global court. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)  (The Associated Press)

Supporters of the International Criminal Court are appealing for unity in the aftermath of three African nations announcing plans to withdraw and Russia symbolically turning its back on the court.

The departures of the African states — South Africa, Burundi and Gambia — buzzed through the corridors of the annual meeting of the court's member states that started Wednesday in The Hague. The court's chief prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, sought to downplay the departures in a speech.

Bensouda, who comes from Gambia, says that "to address these crimes and deliver justice to victims across the world, it is essential that States' participation in the Rome Statute is not only maintained and reinforced, but enlarged."

The Rome Statute is the treaty that established the court in 2002.