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South Africa Considering Legal Amendment Regarding ICC Arrest Warrant for Putin

South Africa is considering a legal amendment that would grant the country the authority to determine whether or not to apprehend a leader sought by the International Criminal Court (ICC), as revealed by a deputy minister in an interview with the BBC.

Obed Bapela’s statements emerge during a time of heightened speculation regarding South Africa’s position on an invitation extended to Russian President Putin to visit the country in August.

The ICC has issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Putin in relation to his involvement in the Ukraine war.

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Initially, South Africa had invited President Putin to attend a summit of Brics leaders.

As of now, it remains uncertain whether Russia’s President intends to participate in the summit.

Meanwhile, Pretoria has granted diplomatic immunity to Russian officials who will be attending, an action that the country’s foreign affairs department has described as a standard protocol.

The BRICS summit is aimed at strengthening the bonds between the member nations, which include Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

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“In June we’ll be submitting the law in parliament,” Obed Bapela, a deputy minister in the South African presidency, told the BBC World Service’s Newshour programme.

Through the law, South Africa “will give itself exemptions of who to arrest and who not to arrest,” Mr Bapela told the BBC.

Under its current laws, South Africa is obliged to arrest Mr Putin if he arrives on its shores, as it is a member of the ICC.

But South Africa has refused to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, insisting it wants to remain neutral.

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