South African president: Russia warned Putin’s arrest is a ‘declaration of war’

President Ramaphosa stated that taking risks and going to war with Russia is against the constitution of South Africa.

On July 18, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was quoted by South Africa’s Maverick Daily ( expressing Russia’s concerns regarding the potential arrest of President Vladimir Putin by the International Criminal Court during the upcoming BRICS summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, scheduled for August. President Ramaphosa emphasized that Russia had conveyed that arresting their leader would be considered a declaration of war, which goes against the constitutional principles of South Africa. He further revealed that he had communicated this to the Gauteng court in South Africa, which had been deliberating on the issue of immunity from arrest for the Russian president.

President Ramaphosa also disclosed that South Africa had initiated consultations with the International Criminal Court (ICC) under Article 97 of the Rome Statute. This action was taken based on the belief that it may be impractical or impossible to comply with the ICC’s requirements in this particular case.

The presentation made by President Ramaphosa to the court took place in May, and he stressed the confidentiality of this information. However, on July 18, the Gauteng Supreme Court ruled in favor of releasing the contents of this sensitive information, following a request from the opposition Democratic Unionist Party.

It is important to note that South Africa is a signatory to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which issued an arrest warrant for President Putin in March, alleging his involvement in the mass deportation of Ukrainian children from occupied regions. Despite this, President Ramaphosa publicly expressed his anticipation of President Putin’s attendance at the BRICS summit in August.

As an alternative, President Ramaphosa suggested that the Russian delegation be led by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov instead of President Putin. However, South African Vice President Paul Mashatile announced that this offer had been declined.

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