South African authorities are trying to persuade Moscow to allow Putin to attend the BRICS summit by video link. If the Russian president travels to South Africa in person, he faces arrest under an ICC warrant.
The South African authorities have suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin refused to attend the forthcoming BRICS summit.
According to its sources, the South African authorities are trying to persuade Moscow and Putin personally to attend the summit only by video link. If the Russian president comes to South Africa in person, the country’s authorities will have to execute an International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant against Putin.
“We have no option not to arrest Putin. If he comes here, we will be forced to detain him”
In late April, according to The Sunday Times, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa set up a special government committee to explore options for the country’s authorities in case Putin does come to the country.
On 25 April, Cyril Ramaphosa said his country intended to withdraw from the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court because of the ICC’s “unfair treatment of some countries”.
Two days later, however, the South African president’s website reported that the head of state’s statement about the ICC was an “erroneous comment” and that the country would not be withdrawing from the court’s jurisdiction. The statement said South Africa remained a signatory to the Rome Statute and would continue to advocate the equal and consistent application of international law.
The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) summit is due to take place in Johannesburg in August. In late March, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov indicated that no decision had yet been made on Vladimir Putin’s trip to the BRICS summit.
A month later, he said that Russia would “attend the summit in South Africa” but would hold bilateral contacts before doing so, including to clarify the position of the South African authorities on the International Criminal Court.
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