Arrest Putin, South Africa’s opposition urges government

    WORLD  30 May 2023 - 19:10

    The last time an accused war criminal visited South Africa, he had to cut his visit short or risk being arrested. Now, the South African opposition wants to do the same thing to Vladimir Putin.

    South Africa’s leading opposition party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), said on May 30 it had taken legal action to force the government to arrest Putin if the Russian president were to visit the country, Politico reports.

    Putin is currently under an international arrest warrant, issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague in March, over the forced deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia as part of Moscow’s full-scale invasion.

    The DA has now launched a court application requesting Putin be “detained and surrendered” to the ICC if he were to arrive in South Africa to attend a BRICS summit in August, the party said in a statement.

    “The DA is seeking this declaratory order to ensure that there is no legal ambiguity relating to the procedure to be followed, and the obligations placed upon the state, should President Putin set foot in South Africa,” DA Shadow Justice Minister Glynnis Breytenbach said in the party’s statement.

    South Africa will host a summit of heads of state from BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) on August 22-24. As a signatory of the ICC, it would in theory be duty bound to arrest Putin if he visited the country.

    In 2015, the South African government allowed Sudanese then-President Omar al-Bashir to leave the country after he had visited Pretoria for an African Union Summit, despite two pending warrants from the ICC for alleged genocide and war crimes in Darfur.

    For now, Russia has yet to confirm whether Putin, who has largely avoided international travel since the beginning of the war, will attend the summit in person.

    On Tuesday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said that Russia would “take part in this summit at the proper level,” according to Russian state newswire Ria Novosti.

    Earlier Tuesday, the South African foreign ministry said it was granting immunity to BRICS meeting participants, saying that it was “standard” procedure for a country hosting an international summit.

    “These immunities do not override any warrant that may have been issued by any international tribunal against any attendee of the conference,” the ministry said in a statement.

     

    Caliber.Az

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