The African National Congress will seek to withdraw the country’s membership of the International Criminal Court, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced. This declaration means that the authorities in Pretoria want to evade the obligation to detain Russian President Vladimir Putin, who may visit their country in August.
Pretoria in August will host the summit of the BRICS bloc countries (they belong to it BrazilRussia, South Africa, China and India), and under international law, the authorities of South Africa (South Africa) will be required to stop Vladimir Putinif president Russiafor whom the International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant, will appear in the country.
“The ruling party, the African National Congress, has decided that it is prudent to withdraw South Africa from the International Criminal Court, mainly because of the way it deals with (those kinds of) problems,” Ramaphosa said.
The Kremlin said on Monday that Putin would soon decide whether he would personally attend the BRICS summit. According to Reuters, his decision to visit South Africa could trigger a parliamentary process in that country where a simple majority would be enough to withdraw from the ICC.
The AFP agency explains, however, that the South African authorities will not avoid having to detain Putin if he appears in Pretoria, because the withdrawal from the ICC does not take effect until a year after the official announcement of this fact.
Another attempt to withdraw from the ICC
Western agencies remind that this is not the first attempt by South Africa to withdraw from the ICC. The country tried to do this already in 2016, when the then Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir was supposed to attend the African Union summit there, for whom the ICC also issued an arrest warrant for war crimes. South Africa refused to arrest al-Bashir, and the controversial decision to withdraw from the ICC was reversed when a national court ruled that such a move would be unconstitutional.
South Africa did not condemn the invasion of Ukraine, saying it wanted to remain neutral and preferred dialogue to end the war. Earlier this year, it conducted joint military exercises with Russia and China, which observers consider to be evidence of the country’s pro-Kremlin sympathies.
Main photo source: PAP/EPA/GAVRIIL GRIGOROV / SPUTNIK / KREMLIN POOL