South Africa, facing Putin arrest warrant, looks to leave ICC

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said his country is prepared to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC), which in March issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

South Africa has expressed frustration about how the arrest warrant will impact an upcoming BRICS summit in which Putin, Ramaphosa, and the leaders of Brazil, India and China are expected to attend.

BRICS is an acronym for five leading global economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The term “BRIC” was coined by economist Jim O’Neill in 2001 and South Africa was added in 2010. Since 2009, BRICS has acted more like a formal intergovernmental organization, and the countries have met annually at summits and coordinated multilateral policies, according to Forbes.

The ICC issued the arrest warrant for Putin in March over allegations of unlawful deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia. 

South Africa has not condemed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, instead choosing to remain neutral during the war, while calling for dialogue to end the conflict.

Ramaphosa, who made the comments during a press conference with Finland President Sauli Niinistö, also said that the governing African National Congress (ANC) has long viewed that the ICC treats some countries unfairly.

The ANC has also been a longtime friend of Moscow and Putin.

“Our view is that we would like this matter of unfair treatment to be properly discussed,” Ramaphosa told Voice of America. “But in the meantime, the governing party has decided once again that there should be a pullout, so that will be a matter that will be taken forward.”

If Putin does attend the annual BRICS summit, South Africa is obliged to arrest him per the ICC’s warrant.

Tags Cyril Ramaphosa International Criminal Court russia Russia-Ukraine war Vladimir Putin Vladimir Putin

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