South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed concerns over the potential of sparking a war with Russia if his government were to comply with a request from the International Criminal Court (ICC) to arrest and surrender President Vladimir Putin. Ramaphosa revealed that the South African government has already approached the ICC to register these concerns.
The issue came to light following a ruling by the North Gauteng High Court on Tuesday, ordering the public disclosure of Ramaphosa’s affidavit in a case brought forward by the Democratic Alliance (DA). The DA is seeking to compel the government to take action on the arrest warrant should Putin attend the upcoming BRICS summit in Johannesburg next month.
Ramaphosa, however, dismissed the DA’s case as unnecessary and premature. He cited “obvious problems” with executing an arrest warrant for Putin, with the primary concern being the potential declaration of war that would arise from arresting a sitting president of Russia. The president emphasized his duty to protect national sovereignty, peace, and security.
Moreover, Ramaphosa argued that arresting Putin would be contradictory to the country’s diplomatic immunity laws. He further informed the court that the government has already engaged in confidential consultations with the ICC regarding the challenges that would impede or prevent the execution of an arrest warrant, without providing specific details.
The matter will continue to be heard in an open court session scheduled for Friday, where further deliberations will take place.