SOUTH AFRICA- Following the issuance of an arrest warrant by the International Criminal Court (ICC), South Africa has invited Russian dictator Vladimir Putin to participate in the BRICS summit via Zoom rather than in person.
After refusing to support sanctions against Russia or condemn its aggression in Ukraine, South Africa’s ruling party finds itself in an uncomfortable position.
South Africa, Brazil, Russia, India, and China are among the countries attending the BRICS summit. In accordance with the Rome Statute, South Africa is bound to comply with the ICC’s decisions.
In response to the arrest warrant for Putin, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa appointed a special government committee led by the country’s vice president to consider the country’s options. As reported by the Sunday Times, the committee is unable to find any other option than having Putin participate via video conference.
South Africa’s top officials confirmed that Pretoria was in talks with Moscow.
Attempts to withdraw from the ICC are not new for South Africa. In 2015, the country ignored an arrest warrant for former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. In 2016, it attempted to do the same.
ICC issued an arrest warrant for Putin in March, accusing him of forcibly deporting thousands of children from Ukraine. Putin can be arrested if he travels to any ICC member country under a warrant.