South Africa is aware of its legal obligations in connection with the issuance of an arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for Russian President Vladimir Putin, said presidential spokesman Vincent Magvenia. In August, South Africa will host the 15th BRICS summit.
The International Criminal Court is based on the Rome Statute, which has been signed by approximately 120 states, including South Africa. Once the ICC asks member states for assistance, they must immediately arrest and bring the suspect to a local court. The jurisdiction of the ICC is not recognized by Russia, Ukraine, the USA, China, Israel and many other countries.
“We, as a government, are aware of our legal obligations. However, we will continue to engage with stakeholders until the summit. <...> We have taken note of the message about the arrest warrant issued by the ICC. South Africa remains committed to the conflict in Ukraine being resolved peacefully through negotiations,” said Mr. Magwenya Reuters.
The Kremlin did not say whether Mr. Putin plans to participate in the 15th BRICS summit. According to Reuters, without citing sources, the Russian president’s visit was “expected”.
The ICC issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova on 17 March. The court ruled that they were “allegedly responsible for war crimes related to the illegal deportation of the population (children)”. The Kremlin called the court’s decision “insignificant from the point of view of law.” Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov considers it outrageous and unacceptable to raise the question of Mr Putin’s arrest. The head of the Ministry of Justice of Germany, Marco Buschmann, said earlier that Berlin would have to arrest the Russian president upon entering the country because of the decision of the ICC.
South Africa, Russia and China held joint naval exercises in February. After that, the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, called on South Africa to use its influence on the Russian Federation to end hostilities in Ukraine. The diplomat noted that holding joint exercises is the right of the republic, but at the same time noted their “bad coincidence” in time with the Ukrainian events.
About cooperation between the Russian Federation and South Africa – in the material “Kommersant” “Russia has found an honest partner in South Africa.”
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