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Media: South Africa considers withdrawing from ICC

by The Kyiv Independent news desk April 25, 2023 7:14 PM 2 min read
South-Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa (R) and Russia's President Vladimir Putin (L) attend the first plenary session as part of the 2019 Russia-Africa Summit at the Sirius Park of Science and Art in Sochi, Russia, on Oct. 24, 2019. (Photo by Sergei Chirikov/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said that his country's governing political party decided that it would be "prudent" to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) due to its "unfair treatment" of other countries, Al Jazeera reported on April 25.

"We would like this matter of unfair treatment to be properly discussed, but in the meantime, the governing party has decided once again that there should be a pull-out," Ramaphosa said, as cited by Al Jazeera.

The report comes after the ICC issued arrest warrants on March 17 for Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and Maria Lvova-Belova, the Russian official allegedly overseeing the forced deportations of Ukrainian children to Russia.

Russia is not party to the ICC treaty, having withdrawn in 2016 following its criticism of the illegal annexation of Ukraine's Crimea. This means that Putin can only be arrested in one of the 123 countries that follow it.

According to Al Jazeera, Ramaphosa did not provide a definitive answer when asked if Putin would be arrested should he set foot in South Africa.

South Africa attempted to withdraw from the ICC in 2016 after the country refused to arrest then-Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir during a visit to the African Union Summit, Al Jazeera wrote. The ICC had issued an arrest warrant to al-Bashir in 2009 for alleged war crimes.

However, according to Al Jazeera, a South African court ruled that withdrawing from the ICC would be unconstitutional.

South Africa launched joint naval drills with Russia and China leading up to the one-year anniversary of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February.

South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor defended the move in late January, saying that hosting such exercises with "friends" was the "natural course of relations," according to Reuters.

This Week in Ukraine Ep. 4 – Russia’s strategy of evil: 80,000 war crimes in Ukraine
“This Week in Ukraine” is a video podcast hosted by the Kyiv Independent’s reporter Anastasiia Lapatina. Every week, Anastasiia sits down with her newsroom colleagues to discuss Ukraine’s most pressing issues. Episode #4 is dedicated to Russian war crimes in Ukraine and beyond, the culture of viole…
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