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South Africa aware of ‘its legal obligation’ over Putin’s ICC arrest warrant
A spokesperson for South African president Cyril Ramaphosa said on March 19 that the country had “noted the report on the warrant of arrest” for Russian dictator Vladimir Putin put out by the International Criminial Court two days earlier.
He also said the South African government would “remain engaged with various relevant stakeholders” before a BRICS summit held in South Africa in August, which Russian dictator Vladimir Putin could attend.
South Africa is a member of the ICC and has ratified the Rome Status, which means the country is obliged to cooperate with the court's demand to arrest Putin, but it puts South Africa in a difficult position as it has publicly advocated for stronger ties with Moscow.
The ICC issued on March 17 arrest warrants for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, the Russian official allegedly overseeing the forced deportations of Ukrainian children to Russia.
In its statement, the ICC wrote that it believes Putin “bears individual criminal responsibility” as the leader of Russia for the crimes committed against Ukrainian children.
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova dismissed the ICC warrant, declaring that “decisions of the International Criminal Court have no meaning for our country, including from a legal standpoint,” Russian independent media Meduza reported.
Russia withdrew from the ICC in 2016 following criticism of Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea.