Medvedev warns that arresting Putin would be a declaration of war

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Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev says any attempt to arrest Russian President Vladimir Putin on the International Criminal Court (ICC) warrant of arrest would be a declaration of war.

Medvedev, who is now deputy chairman of Russia’s security council, says the West has been clear about its hatred for Russia.

The ICC has accused Putin of committing a war crime by unlawful deportation of children from occupied areas in Ukraine to Russia.

The International Criminal Court wants Russian President Vladimir Putin incarcerated.

Putin’s staunch ally Dmitry Medvedev now dares that the move will amount to a declaration of war against Russia.

The Kremlin says the ICC warrant is an outrageously partisan decision and countries such as Russia, China and the United States do not recognize the International Criminal Court.

“Let us imagine. obviously, it is a situation which is never going to happen. but nevertheless, let us imagine this situation came true, an incumbent leader of a nuclear state had arrived, for instance in Germany and was arrested. what is this? a declaration of war on the Russian Federation.”

South Africa has also forwarded an invitation to President Putin as the country gears up to host the BRICS summit later this year. Pretoria has signed the Rome Statute and recognises the ICC.

International Relations and Cooperation Minister Dr Naledi Pandor says, “Obviously that is a serious decision by the international criminal court, we are a member state that has signed into ICC many countries which should sign are not members and had hoped other forms of warrant of arrests would be issued by the ICC there were many countries and leaders who practiced serious abuses in situation of conflicts remain unscathed in terms of ICC, it’s a worrying aspect that we raised as SA and we will look at legislation and have a discussion as cabinet and our colleagues in Russia.”

Analysts say this warrant of arrest presents a number of implications. Institute for Global Dialogue’s Executive director Dr Philani Mthembu says, “South Africa could remain at ICC but look at domestic legislation put a number of exemption, put its national interests arrest of the sitting head of state could have negative implications for brokering the peace deals with that sitting head of state SA has been calling for peaceful resolution and arrest of Putin could have a negative impact and if Putin doesn’t travel. This would have a huge impact even in the global south and there’s definitely going to be pressure on SA.”

The United States has backed the warrant of arrest although it is not a signatory of the Rome Statute.  This comes amid criticisms that some US leaders have committed atrocities in Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries and they have never been taken to task before the ICC.

US ally Britain says President Putin must be held accountable.

British Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab says, “This is a historic moment in the conflict in Ukraine. The international criminal court which operates independently has issued an indictment for President Putin and the children’s commissioner for appalling crimes against children. and whilst they operate independently, it’s really important the international community support them and give them the tools to do the job”

Neither Russia nor Ukraine is a member of the ICC, although Kiev granted it jurisdiction to prosecute crimes committed on its territory.