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South Africa wants to “consult” Russia on the arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin

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The South African government will have to discuss the International Criminal Court’s arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin and will consult with the Russian side on the matter, Naledi Pandor, South Africa’s minister for international relations and cooperation, said. It was previously reported that Putin may attend the BRICS summit in South Africa in August this year. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, however, said that “no decision has yet been made” on this matter.

South African Minister for International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor said authorities in Pretoria would “review” the issue related to the arrest warrant for the Russian president Vladimir Putin. – We will review our legislation, we will hold discussions in our government, and with our colleagues in Russiato determine how to proceed,” Pandor said, as quoted by South African broadcaster SABC News.


On March 17, the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced that it had delivered warrant for the arrest of Russian President Vladimir Putin, as well as the ombudsman for children’s rights Maria Lwowa-Biełowa. The judges agreed with the prosecutor’s request, finding that there are real grounds to believe that Putin is responsible for war crimes involving the unlawful deportation of children from occupied Ukraine to Russia.

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As stated by the ICC, the crimes of which Putin and Maria Lvova-Bielova are suspected have been committed since at least February 24, 2022 and constitute a violation of Article 8 of the Rome Statute, an international legal act establishing the ICC, which talks about war crimes. Putin is also suspected of improperly exercising supervision over his civilian and military subordinates who committed or allowed these crimes to be committed.

Vladimir Putin speaks at the international Russia-Africa conference in Moscow. Photo from March 20 VLADIMIR ASTAOKOVICH/PAP/EPA

Planned BRICS Summit in Pretoria

In August this year, the BRICS summit (a group of countries consisting of Brazil, Russia, India and China, is to be held in South Africa). It was previously reported that Vladimir Putin would also attend the meeting. As Reuters wrote, although there is no official confirmation of Putin’s visit to South Africa yet, the Russian leader is expected to attend the 15th BRICS summit, as in 2013.

As a signatory to the Rome Statute, South Africa is committed to arresting suspects on its soil, regardless of their status.

Authorities in Pretoria, meanwhile, emphasize that South Africa “remains impartial in the conflict” and previously abstained from voting on a UN resolution condemning Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine.

The ICC issued an arrest warrant for Putin. Journalist Oleh Bilecki on what is being said about this in Ukraine TVN24

Magwenya spokesperson’s comment

Following the arrest warrant issued by the ICC, a spokesman for South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said his country was “aware of its legal obligations“.

“We, as a government, are aware of our legal obligation. However, in the period from now until the summit, we will remain engaged with various stakeholders, argued Vincent Magwenya, quoted by Reuters. – We take note of the release announcement by International Criminal Court arrest warrant (Putin – ed.). South Africa remains committed and strongly desires a peaceful and negotiated solution to the conflict in Ukraine, he added.

In 2015, the then president of South Africa Jacob Zuma refused to arrest former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir while attending the African Union Summit in Johannesburg, although he was under an ICC sentence.

Commentary of the Kremlin spokesman

Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov announced on Wednesday that the Kremlin “has not yet made a decision” on the president’s trip to South Africa, the TASS news agency reported. “Everything is going on as usual,” Peskov said, answering a question from Russian journalists whether the preparations of the Russian delegation for the BRICS summit had changed after the arrest warrant for Putin had been issued.


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