The government of the Republic of South Africa has suggested that President Vladimir Putin may be arrested if he personally attends the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) conference, due to be held in Durban in August. In March, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Putin for the war crime of illegal deportation of children.
The Sunday Times reports that the government is discussing options with the Russians to avoid disputes with the Western international community over Putin's upcoming visit.
This follows earlier statements by Alan Winde, a member of the opposition Democratic Alliance party and premier of Western Cape province, in which he criticized the ruling African National Congress (ANC) government for inviting Putin, despite the ICC ruling, and added that he would order local police to seize the Russian leader on arrival.
An unnamed official told the Sunday Times, that as a signatory to the Rome Statute, South Africa could not allow Putin to "come here and not be arrested". Therefore, they are suggesting that the Russian dictator joins the meeting via video link.
On March 18, The International Criminal Court announced an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin on the war crime accusation of unlawfully deporting Ukrainian children.
The Hague-based ICC said it had also issued a warrant against Maria Lvova-Belova, Russia's presidential commissioner for children's rights, on similar charges.
Moscow dismissed the orders as "void." Russia is not a party to the ICC so it was unclear if or how Putin could ever end up in the dock.
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