Richard Dicker, a justice director for Human Rights Watch, said it seemed veto-wielding members of the U.N. Security Council like Russia, the United States and China were more concerned about protecting their allies from the rule of law than prosecuting their enemies.
The Security Council last year referred Libya to the ICC for abuses committed during the civil war there. Dicker said it was problematic that Libya's new government hasn't been pressed to cooperate with the courts. Further issues with crimes committed in Darfur, he added, undermined the effectiveness of the international courts.
"The Security Council's 'on again, off again' approach to ICC referrals undermines its credibility in promoting justice," he said in a statement.
The Security Council is set to debate the role of the ICC in an open meeting Wednesday.
"ICC member countries should use this debate to generate real Security Council support for the court, rather than allow it to twist in the wind," said Dicker.