Johannesburg: South Africa is currently exploring legal avenues as it grapples with the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin. The warrant, issued in March, accuses Putin of alleged war crimes in Ukraine, putting his potential attendance at an upcoming summit in South Africa under scrutiny. The country, as a signatory to the ICC, could be obligated to arrest Putin if he sets foot on its soil.
The situation arises as the foreign ministers of the BRICS bloc nations, including Brazil, Russia, China, India, and South Africa, concluded their meeting in Cape Town on Friday. The focus of the discussions has been overshadowed by speculation surrounding Putin’s possible participation in the forthcoming high-level BRICS summit scheduled for August.
The issue has stirred significant debate and raised questions about South Africa’s obligations as an ICC member state. Authorities are carefully examining the legal intricacies to ensure compliance with international law while simultaneously accommodating the diplomatic significance of hosting the Johannesburg summit.
During an addressal at the National Assembly in Cape Town, President Cyril Ramaphosa emphasized that South Africa had been subjected to deliberate attempts to involve it in the wider geopolitical tensions arising from the Russia-Ukraine conflict. However, he reiterated the country’s unwavering commitment to maintaining a non-aligned position, upholding the principles outlined in the United Nations Charter, and advocating for peaceful conflict resolution through dialogue.