President Cyril Ramaphosa stated that arresting his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin would complicate African leaders’ efforts to mediate peace between Russia and Ukraine.
This is revealed in an affidavit to the North Gauteng High Court, which Ramaphosa was forced to make public on Tuesday.
In his affidavit, Ramaphosa further stated that executing an International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant may lead to war with Russia.
The declaration is part of the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) court case to force the government to arrest Putin if he attends the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) Summit next month in Johannesburg.
Ramaphosa emphasised the government’s challenges in executing an arrest warrant for a sitting head of state who is a party to a war for which it is attempting to arrange a settlement.
In an affidavit that was initially filed as private, Ramaphosa stated that an arrest would intensify hostilities, sabotaging any diplomatic settlement to Ukraine’s struggle.
Based on South Africa’s own experiences with apartheid atrocities, Ramaphosa stated that the country has a unique perspective on how to negotiate for peace and reconciliation.
He expressed shock at the DA’s lack of appreciation for a negotiated settlement.
Nevertheless, DA leader John Steenhuisen described Ramaphosa’s explanation as farcical and weak.
“It is clear that the South African government is making every possible attempt to obfuscate and cover up this pivotal matter to avoid public scrutiny, and to mask its inability to stand up to war mongers and despots like Vladimir Putin, as should be expected from any human rights-based foreign policy.”
Ramaphosa stated that the government has already addressed the ICC to express its reservations about carrying out an arrest order.