South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has said that Russia has warned him of the negative consequences of Vladimir Putin’s arrest under an International Criminal Court warrant if he attends the BRICS summit in August.
This was Ramaphosa’s explanation to the court in the South African city of Gauteng, which was considering granting Putin immunity from arrest.
The South African president’s statement was sent to the court in May, and he insisted on its confidentiality. Still, earlier, the Gauteng High Court, following a lawsuit filed by the opposition Democratic Alliance party, ordered Ramaphosa’s words to be published.
“Russia has made it clear that the arrest of its current president would be a declaration of war. It is against our constitution to risk going to war with Russia,” the South African president said.
Ramaphosa also told the court that South Africa had begun consultations with the International Criminal Court under Article 97 of the Rome Statute, initiated in the event of a problem that “could potentially impede or make impossible the execution of the ICC request”.
South Africa has ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which issued an arrest warrant for Putin in March for his involvement in the mass deportation of Ukrainian children from the occupied territories.
Despite this, President Ramaphosa has publicly stated that he expects the Russian president to attend the BRICS summit in August.
ICC arrest warrant for Putin
The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants for Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, and Maria Lvova-Belova, Russian Commissioner for Children’s Rights, on March 17, 2023, following an investigation into war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.
These Russian officials were accused of being responsible for the war crime of the unlawful deportation and transfer of children during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The arrest warrant for Putin is the first ever issued against the president of a country that holds a permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
Putin and Lvova-Belova must be detained and transferred by the 123 ICC members if either enters their jurisdiction.
Russia, illegal mass deportation of Ukrainian children
As of June 1, 2023, 19,505 Ukrainian children had been deported, according to data from the “Children of War” governmental portal. Due to ongoing conflicts and the temporary occupation of Ukraine’s territory, it is now impossible to ascertain the precise number of impacted children.
Thanks to the tireless efforts of human rights organisations, volunteers, the government, and even the relatives of the children, only 371 of them were sent back to Ukraine.
It is a gruelling and protracted process to bring Ukrainian children back to Ukrainian territory from the Russian Federation. Even now, the Russian government has not provided the European Union or other international organisations with any lists of these children.
Ukraine is requesting assistance from other nations in creating a suitable system to send all of its children home. Additionally, to guarantee that all those responsible for those terrible acts against them be brought to justice.