South Africa says arresting Putin would be declaration of war with Russia

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa told a court on Tuesday that arresting Russian President Vladimir Putin when he visits the country next month for the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg would be a declaration of war with Russia.

Ramaphosa states in an affidavit presented in Johannesburg High Court, which he “reportedly” wanted to keep confidential but is now public.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant in March for Putin, who is expected to attend the BRICS conference in Johannesburg on August 22-23. South Africa is a signatory to the Rome Statute.

BRICS is a bloc of emerging economies that includes Russia, Brazil, India, China, and South Africa.

The Democratic Alliance (DA), the main opposition party in South Africa, went to court on Monday to force the president to share his affidavit on why the government will not arrest Putin if he attends the conference.

The presidency said in a statement late Tuesday that it “welcomes the decision of the Johannesburg High Court ordering that the answering affidavit related to the International Criminal Court (ICC) warrant matter be made public.”

The presidency said Ramaphosa was never opposed to making the affidavits public; it was only in compliance with the ICC directive that the presidency sought to maintain confidentiality on the affidavit.

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