Vladimir Putin says US was in hysteria over alleged Russian election ploy

In what seems to be a bad omen for the civilians of Aleppo, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree Wednesday to withdraw Russia from the International Criminal Court, which rules on charges as genocide and crimes against humanity.

Russia signed the Rome treaty in 2000 that established the Hague-based court but never ratified it.

Putin's decree, published on the Kremlin's website, comes a day after the UN General Assembly's human rights committee approved a resolution condemning Russia's "temporary occupation of Crimea" and blamed Russia for rights abuses such as discrimination against some Crimean residents, such as Tatars.

Russian media has criticized the ICC report equating the Crimean annexation as an international military conflict.

Russia annexed Crimea in March 2014 from Ukraine following a hastily called referendum, a move that led to crippling Western sanctions. A separatist insurgency erupted in eastern Ukraine the following month, backed by Russia.

Russia's move comes after South Africa said last month that it had initiated its withdrawal from the court to focus on continental instruments and institutions, such as the African Court of Human and Peoples' Rights. Burundi has also recently said it will quit the court.

Russia's foreign ministry insisted in a statement that Russia wants everyone implicated in grave international crimes to face justice but expressed frustration over the court's work in recent years.

"The court has unfortunately failed to match the hopes one had and did not become a truly independent and respected body of international justice," the ministry said, adding that in the ICCs' 14 years of work "only four verdicts" have been passed while $1 billion was spent on expenses.

Just hours before Russia's announcement, the U.N. human rights chief made a spirited defense of the ICC, entreating countries not to leave it. Several African nations have recently announced plans to leave the treaty.

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