'Will SA arrest Putin?' ATM wants clarity from govt on ICC warrant against Russian president

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The ICC has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The ICC has issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images
  • The ATM has welcomed Russian President Vladimir Putin's planned visit to the country, but called on the government to decide if it will comply with the arrest warrant issued against him by the ICC.
  • The party has raised concerns on the possible steps to be taken since Russia is not a signatory to the Rome Statute.
  • Other opposition parties have mixed emotions about Putin's possible arrival in SA and whether he will be arrested if he does.

The African Transformation Movement (ATM) has welcomed Russian President Vladimir Putin's planned visit to the country, but has called on the South African government to state whether it will execute the international arrest warrant issued against him.

The party has asked the government for its position on the issue, given that Russia is not a signatory of the Rome Statute.

The South African government has requested a legal opinion on how to address the arrest warrant which the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued against Putin on 18 March for alleged war crimes related to the abduction of children from Ukraine.

South Africa will host the BRICS summit this year and as a signatory of the Rome Statute, could be required to execute the arrest warrant if Putin attends the summit in August.

The statute is the founding treaty of the ICC.

News4 previously reported that Putin addressed National Assembly Speaker Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and a delegation of MPs during a recent visit to Russia amid the warrant having been issued.

READ | Mapisa-Nqakula leads MP delegation to meet with Vladimir Putin amid ICC arrest warrant

Mapisa-Nqakula and National Council of Provinces chairperson Amos Masondo led a multiparty delegation to a conference hosted by the Russian state, themed "Russia-Africa in a Multipolar World."

In a statement, ATM said it would welcome Putin's arrival with "open arms" as they did with other heads of state.

ATM spokesperson Zama Ntshona said the party was awaiting a response from the South African courts to verify if the country would comply with the warrant of arrest.

The party also recommended that the government withdraw from the ICC due to the court's "biased approach".

Ntshona said:

It seems the ICC is focused on African leaders that it deems devious and any other leader that is not working to further the interests of the US and EU.

At a media briefing on 19 March, presidency spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said that although the country respected international statutes, it could not "speculate" if Putin would be arrested should he be invited to the summit.

Last week, on the sidelines of the state visit by the Belgian royals at the Union Buildings, International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor said Cabinet has to "decide exactly how we would respond" to the warrant of arrest. 

The DA has since called on President Cyril Ramaphosa not to invite Putin to the summit. 

Other parties, including the EFF and ANC, said previously they did no want the warrant enforced. 

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