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South Africa has a Legal Obligation to Arrest Russia’s Putin in August 


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South Africa has a Legal Obligation to Arrest Russia’s Putin in August 

South Africa has a Legal Obligation to Arrest Russia’s Putin in August 

24th March 2023


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/ MEDIA STATEMENT / The content on this page is not written by, but is supplied by third parties. This content does not constitute news reporting by

ActionSA would like to remind the South African Government that it has a legal obligation – both in local and international law – to arrest Russian President Vladimir Putin should he visit South Africa for the 15th BRICS summit expected to be held in August. 

Earlier this month, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a warrant of arrest for Putin for alleged war crimes after evidence was found that the Russian president is complicit in illegally deporting children from Ukraine to Russia.


As one of the first countries to ratify the Rome Statute in 2000, South Africa helped establish the ICC. The country went a step beyond by codifying the statute in local legislation when it passed the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court Act 27 of 2002. 

Pursuant to this legislation, and our obligations under international law, the South African government has no choice but to arrest Putin should he decide to attend the BRICS summit in August, to which he will apparently be invited, according to Minister Pandor. 


This obligation to arrest those with an ICC warrant was confirmed by judgements handed down in the North Gauteng High Court and the Supreme Court of Appeals after the government failed to arrest Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir in June 2015. South Africa’s obligations under international law were further confirmed by a judgement handed down by the ICC in 2017.

We acknowledge that the ICC has short-comings and are concerned about the court’s apparent bias in which cases it chooses to pursue, but the legal obligation for arresting a head of state with an arrest warrant against them is clear. While we support the need for reform at the ICC, we must also abide by our legal obligations under the Rome Statute. 

ActionSA affirms our commitment to foreign policy based on a respect for human rights and our obligations under international law. South Africa will never begin to restore rule of law in our communities when our very own government fails to adhere to laws that govern our country and its participation in the global community. 

We furthermore condemn the EFF’s support for lawlessness in South Africa with Julius Malema promising to defend Putin when he arrives in South Africa. 

ActionSA will monitor the South African government’s stance on Putin’s upcoming visit. We will not stand idly by should our government again decide to abandon its constitutional mandate to uphold our laws.

We cannot allow the country further dips into lawlessness at the expense of the ANC’s immoral relationship with Russia. 


Issued by ActionSA President Herman Mashaba                                             


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