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Russia would consider arresting Putin to be a declaration of war, Ramaphosa says

Russia would consider arresting Putin to be a declaration of war, Ramaphosa says
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 23: President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa attends the Business Forum at Lancaster House on November 23, 2022 in London, England. This is the first state visit hosted by the UK with King Charles III as monarch, and the first state visit here by a South African leader since 2010. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said a court order that would force him to commit to arresting Russian leader Vladimir Putin if he attends a BRICS summit in Johannesburg next month would be premature, and effecting such a ruling would be tantamount to a declaration of war.

The Democratic Alliance, South Africa’s main opposition party, approached the country’s High Court to compel the government to honor an International Criminal Court warrant issued against Putin that’s related to war crimes during the invasion of Ukraine. South Africa is a signatory to the Rome Statute that established the ICC and is bound by its decisions.

The government is aware of its legal obligations and is seeking ways to deal with the warrant, Ramaphosa said in an answering affidavit to the DA’s application. He argued that until Putin lands in the country — and he may never do so —  he is under no obligation to pronounce on the matter.

“Any obligation to arrest has not arisen,” Ramaphosa said. “It would potentially arise if President Putin were to come to South Africa.”

Read More: South Africa Shuns Pressure to Take Sides in Russia-Ukraine War

South Africa has sought to get around the warrant by either moving the summit to China or hosting it virtually, but both options were vetoed by other BRICS members. Putin has insisted on leading his nation’s delegation to the gathering, according to local media reports, placing South Africa in a conundrum.

The government is consulting with the ICC in light of its concerns about arresting Putin, including that it could trigger conflict and compromise an African leaders’ initiative to broker peace in Ukraine, according to Ramaphosa.

“Russia has made it clear that the arrest of President Putin would be a declaration of war against Russia,” he said. “The ICC itself has expressed concern over Russia’s nuclear threat, following the arrest warrant. South Africa has no capacity to declare or wage war with Russia. Nor does it wish to.”

Pretoria drew international criticism in 2015 when it refused to execute an ICC arrest warrant for then-Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who had been indicted for war crimes and genocide, while he was attending a meeting of African leaders in Johannesburg. South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeals ruled that the government had acted unlawfully and the ICC said it failed to comply with its international obligations.



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  • Beyond Fedup says:

    Absolute nonsense!! Is Putin going to invade SA if he declares it as a declaration of war?? Bid deal, who cares?? He is getting the hiding of his life in Ukraine and the vaunted Russian army is a toothless tiger. Nothing but a vacuous and idiotic statement that only the most stupid would believe or perhaps conjure up and that includes you, Cyril, and your hideous party.

  • Jennifer Hughes says:

    Perhaps SA should resign from BRICS then. Maybe being the little fish in a small pond with a few big bullies is not the best idea ever. What would Madiba do? Tim Cohen’s latest editorial suggests Madiba might have quite a different view to the current ANC leadership’s position.

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