South Africa promises immunity to BRICS leaders, with warning for Putin
The Republic of South Africa, which will host a BRICS summit this summer, will grant diplomatic immunity to its participants, including Russian president Vladimir Putin if he turns up.
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The immunity, however, does not preclude him from being arrested under the warrant of the Hague-based International Criminal Court, according to the South African foreign relations department.
In a statement cited by local newspaper Mail Guardian, the department explained that the granting of immunities is a standard procedure practised by South Africa, intended for the summit itself, not for specific individuals.
“These immunities do not override any warrant that may have been issued by any international tribunal against any attendee at the conference,” it was quoted as saying.
In effect, this means that Mr Putin could be arrested should he come to South Africa for the BRICS summit.
South Africa is to host the meeting of the leaders of BRICS, which includes Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, in August, with the Russian president invited.
In March, however, the ICC issued a life-long arrest warrant for Mr Putin on suspicion of illegally moving thousands of Ukrainian children from occupied territories.
The warrant obliges every party to the Rome Statute, including South Africa, to arrest him and send to the Hague for a trial.