‘ICC arrest warrant for Putin puts SA in precarious position’

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Human Rights Attorney Richard Spoor says the International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin puts South Africa in a precarious position. The warrant obliges South Africa to arrest Putin if he comes to the Brics Summit in August.

Putin is accused of alleged war crimes regarding the unlawful deportation of children from Ukraine to Russia. He faces arrest if he sets foot in any of the 123 signatory states to the Rome Statute.

Spoor says if South Africa arrests Putin, there would be negative diplomatic implications.

“A constitutional crisis is threatening; I cannot see the government arresting Vladimir Putin. But what I do anticipate is that people could approach the courts and the fact that we are signatories means that it would be possible to compel the courts and ask for an order to compel the government to issue a warrant for his arrest and that is going to put the courts and the government in a fundamentally contradictory position. The only way out is to withdraw from the ICC in order to avoid this crisis,” says Spoor.

Meanwhile,  Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Co-operation, Supra Mahumapelo, says he intends to ask the Minister of International Relations, Dr Naledi Pandor to brief the committee on how government is going to handle the matter of the arrest warrant.