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2023-04-25 at 21:32 #401621Nat QuinnKeymaster
South Africa’s ANC Weighing Stance on International Criminal Court Before Putin Visit
(Bloomberg) — South Africa’s governing African National Congress will re-open an internal debate about its stance on the International Criminal Court, before an expected visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin this year.
The ANC’s National Executive Committee began a four-day meeting on Friday where it plans to continue earlier discussions about whether or not South Africa should withdraw from the Rome Statute — the treaty that established the court. As a signatory, the government may be obliged to arrest Putin under an arrest warrant the court issued in March should he accept an invitation to attend a BRICS summit in South Africa in August.
Read more: Putin Arrest Warrant Prompts South Africa to Seek Legal Advice
“We are grappling with issues of South Africa’s participation in the ICC,” ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula told reporters in Johannesburg. “It could well be that in the end we decide to stay, but in terms of the last NEC, these are some of the outstanding issues that we must resolve on.”
South Africa drew international criticism in 2015, when it refused to execute an ICC arrest warrant for then-Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir while he was attending an African Union summit in the country. Former South African President Jacob Zuma proposed withdrawing from the ICC in 2016, though that plan was later abandoned.
The government is currently taking legal advice on how to handle the arrest warrant for Putin.
President Cyril Ramaphosa says South Africa will be pulling out of the International Criminal Court (ICC).
He was speaking during a press conference at the Union buildings in Pretoria, where he hosted his Finnish counterpart Sauli Väinämö Niinistö.
VIDEO: President Cyril Ramaphosa is hosting Finnish President Sauli Niinistö
The ANC took a resolution at its conference last year to rescind its conference resolution of 2017.
It was in 2017 when the conference instructed its deployees in government to pull out of the Rome Statute, after the ICC issued a warrant of arrest against former Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir.
Now, the party has backtracked.
Over the weekend it again took a resolution to start the process of pulling out of the ICC.
President Ramaphosa says this issue was prompted by the recent announcement that a warrant of arrest was issued against Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is expected to attend the BRICS summit in South Africa in August.
“The African National Congress has taken that decision that it is prudent that South Africa should pull out of the ICC. Largely because of the manner the ICC has been seen to be dealing with these types of problems and our view is that we would like this matter unfair treatment to be properly discussed.”
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