In response to comments made on Tuesday that South Africa would leave the International Criminal Court (ICC), the latest response by his spokesperson claims, President Cyril Ramaphosa has changed his mind. In a statement released late on Tuesday, the president’s office retracted statements made by Ramaphosa earlier that day at a briefing, claiming he erred in saying the ruling party (ANC) would “pull out” of the ICC.
Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, is scheduled to attend the BRICS summit in South Africa in August. Putin is wanted by the ICC for war crimes committed in Ukraine and he must be detained by Pretoria if he enters the nation as it is a signatory to the Rome Statute, which has created the ICC.
Ramaphosa’s spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya, claimed the remarks were false just hours after the president said the ANC party would leave ICC. In accordance with a resolution adopted at the ANC’s 55th national conference, which was held in December 2022, South Africa “remains a signatory to the ICC,” he said.
Magwenya claimed the correction came after the president “regrettably” and “erroneously” confirmed a mistake made at an ANC media briefing on South Africa and the ICC. According to Ramaphosa, the ruling party has long believed that some nations are subjected to unfair treatment by the court.
Putin’s attendance at a BRICS summit—Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa—is not yet confirmed. Moscow declared a day before that the Kremlin said that President Putin would decide whether to attend the BRICS Summit, later when the summit is closed. It is not a given that South Africa would detain the Russian president even if he did.
South Africa’s failure to follow ICC
Similar events happened in 2015 when South Africa failed to arrest Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir. Criticisms from all around the world came that South Africa is not following the rules and the laws of the ICC. To this, it went to the court and said that they want to quit the ICC. But the high court there in South Africa proclaimed that this decision by its government would be unconstitutional. So, in 2017 again South Africa revoked its decision and decided to stay put in the ICC.
The African National Congress party is close with Moscow, which, as the head of the Soviet Union, supported its struggle against the rule of the white minority under Apartheid.
Although Pretoria has so far declined to denounce the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine, Kyiv has likewise supported the ANC’s fight for democracy.
Sources: VOA; WION