Cape Town – The presidency says President Cyril Ramaphosa is aware of the country’s legal obligation regarding a proposed visit by Vladimir Putin after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant against the Russian leader.
Last week, the ICC issued an arrest warrant for Putin, reported BBC.
The ICC accused him of committing war crimes in Ukraine, the report said.
While not much is expected out of the warrant of arrest, as the ICC has no powers to arrest suspects without the co-operation of a country’s government, the move could affect Putin’s international travels.
He can be arrested at any of the court’s 123 member states if he set foot, the report said.
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According to News24, Putin is expected in the country later this year when South Africa hosts a summit of the heads of state of the Brics countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
South Africa is a signatory of the Rome Statute and, therefore, has the responsibility to execute an ICC arrest warrant, if the person against whom it is issued sets foot in South Africa, the report said.
In 2015, following the controversy over former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who the government allowed to leave South Africa without being detained under International Crimes Court law, the SA government applied to withdraw from the ICC, Eye Witness News reported.
However, in 2017 the country revoked its withdrawal after a High Court ruling found that the move was unconstitutional.
The presidency said on Sunday that it had noted Putin’s warrant of arrest and was consulting with various stakeholders on the issue.
[WATCH] “We note the reports on the warrant of arrest issued against President Vladimir Putin. Between now and the summit we will remain engaged with relevant stakeholders.” President’s spokesperson Vincent Magwenya during a briefing on the president’s diary for the week. pic.twitter.com/ACTnN6TS3v
— Newzroom Afrika (@Newzroom405) March 19, 2023
“We note the reports on the warrant of arrest that the ICC has issued against President Putin. It remains South Africa’s commitment and very strong desire that the conflict in the Ukraine is resolved peacefully through negotiations.
“We are, as a government, cognisant of our obligation. However, between now and the summit, we will remain engaged with various relevant stakeholders with respect to the summit and other issues related,” Presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said during a briefing on the president’s diary for the week.
However, Magwenya said he didn’t want to “speculate against scenarios” that may not necessarily arise as he was informed that there hadn’t even been invitations sent to the Brics heads of state.
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Compiled by Olwethu Mpeshe