Political analyst, Professor Dirk Kotze, says the retracted insinuation that South Africa intends to withdraw from the International Criminal Court (ICC) was an emotional attempt to avoid having to deal the Vladimir Putin matter.
As a signatory to the Roman Statute, South Africa has an obligation to comply with an ICC arrest order against the Russian President should he come for the BRICS summit in August. A move that some commentators say will be a diplomatic nightmare for Pretoria as Russia is a close South African ally, which supported the governing party’s struggle against apartheid.
Kotze says the Presidency’s move to clarify that South Africa remains a signatory to the ICC was a calculated one. It had followed remarks, which suggested that government was intending to pull out of the ICC over bias and unfair treatment of world leaders, by President Cyril Ramaphosa and the ANC Secretary General, Fikile Mbalula.
Professor Kotze believes the clarification followed extensive consultation, which has left government in a tough position. “Since government has realised that it cannot just leave the ICC in order to evade its obligation, it finds itself in a very tough situation,” he says.
The political expert adds that: “(The) Department of International Relations and Cooperation also gave government a legal opinion that they would be obliged to arrest Putin if he is in the country”.
Putin’s warrant of arrest is for alleged war crimes, which involve claims that Russia has forcibly taken Ukrainian children. Moscow has rejected the charges while also pointing out that Russia has never signed on as a party to the ICC.
Written by: Nokwazi Qumbisa