Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) shakes hands with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa during the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, July 26 2018. Photo/Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin/REUTERS
PRETORIA – South Africa may ask China to host a BRICS summit (summit) in August.
With this move, South Africa will not have to deal with an International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The estimate was reported by Reuters on Wednesday (31/5/2023), citing an anonymous government official.
The meeting involving Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa is scheduled to start on August 22.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is invited to attend again in January. However, in March, the ICC charged him with war crimes based on Ukraine’s claims of the “forced transfer” of children during the armed conflict between the two neighbors.
Moscow said civilians were being evacuated from Ukrainian artillery fire and because Russia does not recognize the ICC’s jurisdiction, the warrant was null and void.
South Africa, however, is a signatory to the Rome Statute which includes the ICC, and would be legally obligated to arrest Putin if he came to visit.
“One option gaining traction in Pretoria is asking China to host the BRICS event,” said a senior administration official who spoke to the agency on condition of anonymity. Like Moscow, Beijing is not party to the Rome Statute.
“Because of our legal obligations, we have to arrest President Putin, but we cannot do that,” former South African President Thabo Mbeki said in a radio interview last week.