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Nobel Laureate Matviichuk asks South Africa for clear position on Putin's arrest warrant

by Martin Fornusek July 10, 2023 9:57 PM 2 min read
Oleksandra Matviichuk (Photo credit: STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Oleksandra Matviichuk, the winner of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize, and head of Ukrainian organization the Center for Civil Liberties (CCL) delivers a speech during a meeting in the new cultural space MOT in Kyiv, Ukraine 21 March 2023, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine. (Photo credit: STR/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
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Oleksandra Matviichuk, a human rights lawyer and a Nobel Prize laureate, asked South African President Cyril Ramaphosa for a clear position on Russian dictator Vladimir Putin's arrest warrant on July 10.

"A BRICS summit will be held in the South African Republic in August. There are intense discussions in the country itself and on the international level about whether the country's leadership will execute the arrest warrant if the Russian president dares to come," the head of the Center for Civil Liberties wrote on social media.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant against Putin on March 17 over mass deportations of Ukrainian children to Russia. This mandates all signatories to the Rome Statute, including South Africa, to detain Russia's dictator if possible.

This presented Ramaphosa, who has been building close ties with Moscow, with a dilemma on how to tackle Putin's visit. Pretoria has touted diplomatic immunity for all the guests of the summit and reportedly even tried to dissuade the Russian leader from coming in person.

On July 9, South Africa's president said that the summit will be "physical," without revealing whether Putin will attend or not, Agence France-Presse reported.

Matviichuk noted that Ramaphosa is likely "uncomfortable" with the ICC's ruling, as the African peace delegation to Kyiv and Moscow in June, including South Africa's president, suggested suspending the arrest warrant as part of their peace plan.

According to the civil society leader, partners in South Africa are putting up banners calling for Putin's arrest, and many more locals are offering to help.

"Because when you can't rely on legal instruments, you can always rely on people anyway. Solidarity has no state borders and does not depend on social status, political views, citizenship, skin color, religion, etc. First of all, we are people," Matviichuk said.

South African president presents 10-step peace plan in Kyiv
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa presented a ten-point peace plan of the African Peace Mission during his visit to Kyiv, Ukrinform wrote on June 16. As the main points, Ramaphosa emphasized that the Russo-Ukrainian War must be settled, and peace has to be achieved through diplomatic means as…
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