south africa's opposition aims to block putin's visit

South Africa’s opposition aims to block Putin’s visit

The major opposition party in South Africa announced on Tuesday that it had initiated legal steps to ensure that Vladimir Putin would be detained if he set foot in the country, where he is scheduled to attend a summit in August.

In the event that Mr. Putin visits South Africa in order to take part in the Brics summit (a gathering of nations that includes South Africa, Brazil, China, and India), the Democratic Alliance (DA) is petitioning the courts for “an order” stipulating that the South African government must detain him in accordance with the demands of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

The International Criminal Court (ICC), which has its headquarters in The Hague, issued a warrant for Vladimir Putin’s arrest in March on the grounds that he committed the war crime of “deporting” Ukrainian children as part of Moscow’s attack against Ukraine. Since South Africa is a member of the International Criminal Court, the government is legally obligated to make an arrest of the Russian president as soon as he enters the country.

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However, Pretoria has not yet announced whether or not it will do so. This is because Pretoria maintains close diplomatic connections with Moscow and maintains its “neutrality” in the war in Ukraine. The Democratic Alliance (DA) explains that it has initiated a “pre-emptive” judicial application in order to ensure that the government “respects its obligations” and delivers over Mr. Putin to the International Criminal Court (ICC) if he visits South Africa. According to the declaration, there should be no “judicial ambiguity” that remains.

Boris Peskov, a spokesperson for the Kremlin, stated on Tuesday that Russia would be “duly represented” at the Brics meeting, but he did not clarify whether or not Vladimir Putin planned to attend. He went on to say that Moscow “assumes, of course,” that its Brics partners “will not be guided” by “illegitimate decisions,” including the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court.

The government has granted diplomatic immunity to officials attending a meeting of BRICS foreign ministers this week and a summit of heads of state in August, at the same time that the DA is taking legal action. Some people believe the action to be a preemptive measure to provide legal protection for Putin’s visit, but Pretoria claims that it is simply the customary procedure for holding international conferences.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs defended itself on Tuesday morning by stating that “these immunities do not cancel an arrest warrant issued by an international court against any participant in the conference.”

Since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine, South Africa’s proximity to Moscow has been a point of contention and criticism. In April, South Africa’s acting President Cyril Ramaphosa claimed that the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) arrest order against Russian President Vladimir Putin was a “spanner in the works” for his country.