Putin will be arrested in South Africa? Question looms amid reports of war crime convict visit to ICC state

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Image source: AP Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian and Chinese foreign ministers are expected to meet with their counterparts from the BRICS economic bloc in Cape Town on Thursday, a precursor to a major summit of leaders of developing countries in South Africa in August, at which Russian President Vladimir Putin will face indictment. can participate during by the International Criminal Court.

South Africa has suggested, without saying explicitly, that it will not arrest Putin if he decides to travel for the main BRICS summit in Johannesburg, despite being obliged to do so as a signatory to the ICC’s Treaty of Rome does.

BRICS is a grouping of emerging economies made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa and their leaders, including China’s Xi Jinping, have been invited to the August 22-24 summit.

Any Putin visit – and the Kremlin has not said whether he will attend – will focus more on South Africa’s ties with Moscow. There are obvious concerns in the West that Africa’s most developed economy is aligning with Russia and pulling other developing countries along at a time of rising global tensions.

The South African government denied the allegation.

These concerns came into the open earlier this month when the US ambassador to South Africa called a news conference in Pretoria and accused the country of supplying Russia with weapons for the war in Ukraine. The South African government denies the allegation, but an investigation is underway into the visit of a Russian cargo ship to South Africa’s top naval base near Cape Town in December.

While South Africa has yet to state its official position regarding Putin’s arrest warrant, its foreign ministry said on Tuesday that BRICS foreign ministers traveling to Thursday’s meeting and the main summit in three months’ time Participating leaders will be Granted standard diplomatic immunity.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Clayson Monyela said in an indirect reference to Putin, but the privileges “do not override any warrants issued by any international tribunal against any person participating in the conference.” This means that if Putin visits in August, the ICC arrest warrant will still apply, even though there is little chance of South Africa arresting him.

brics summit

The Russian president has not traveled to any country that is part of an international court treaty since being indicted in March for war crimes related to the abduction of children from Ukraine. Away from Putin, analysts say the main summit of BRICS leaders could be one of the most important summits in the bloc’s short history. There could be movement on two important issues: BRICS could be expanded to include new members like Saudi Arabia, Iran and UAE. The bloc may also adopt a resolution to create a BRICS currency.

Those moves could be seen as “a direct economic challenge to the US” within a grouping that includes Russia and China, said William Gumede, an associate professor at the School of Governance at the University of the Witwatersrand at the University of Johannesburg and a BRICS analyst.

Gumede said, “BRICS could look very different … and (it) would change world power dynamics.” BRICS officials said in April that at least 19 countries – including major oil producers Saudi Arabia, Iran and the United Arab Emirates – have applied to become members. South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor has also confirmed that the BRICS currency will be discussed.

Discussions could begin this week when Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang meet with Pandor and other counterparts from Brazil and India.
While there are complications in introducing a common currency in countries with very different economic setups, Gumede said a formal decision to pursue it could still be seen as a major “political statement” and that parts of it “d “Dollarization” may be attempted to be introduced. World.

America has to answer

“The US will have to respond in some way or the other,” Gumede said. The BRICS meetings are taking place after the Group of Seven leaders’ summit in Japan, dominated by the US and the world’s other advanced economies, expanded sanctions against Russia as punishment for its full-scale invasion of Ukraine and ways were found to counter China’s economic policies. ,

Accusing South Africa of supplying arms to Russia and going against its neutrality in the war in Ukraine, US Ambassador Ruben Brighetti also referred to the country’s hosting of upcoming BRICS meetings and how they should be included within the bloc. The meeting was framed by some as a “counterpoint” to the G7, the other side.
Brigitte notices that America was watching.

Brigetti said, “Our officials expressed quite serious concerns about the apparent articulation of the BRICS configuration as a point towards the G-7.” “Certainly, South Africa is free to choose its diplomatic and economic partners as it chooses and so is the United States.” Any relationship works like this.

(with inputs from AP)

Also read: ‘Poisoned’ to the President of Belarus? Lukashenko rushed to hospital after meeting Putin in Moscow

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