South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has threatened to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC) in response to calls for the arrest of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
According to VOA, Ramaphosa made the remarks during a joint press conference with his visiting Finnish counterpart, Sauli Niinisto.
In March, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Putin on alleged war crimes charges in Ukraine, raising fears for South Africa’s leader to carry out at the BRICS conference.
Ramaphosa said there had long been a feeling in the governing African National Congress (ANC) that the ICC treats certain countries unfairly, likely referring to the fact that many African leaders have been brought before the court in The Hague, Netherlands.
“Our view is that we would like this matter of unfair treatment to be properly discussed,” Ramaphosa said.
“But in the meantime, the governing party has decided once again that there should be a pullout, so that will be a matter that will be taken forward.”
The ANC wanted to pull out of the court some years ago but was prevented from doing so by a South African court that found the move unconstitutional.
Putin has been invited to a meeting of the BRICS group of emerging nations in August in Johannesburg. BRICS nations include Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
The ANC is a staunch friend of Moscow and has refused to condemn the invasion of Ukraine.
If he does attend, as a signatory to the ICC, South Africa is obliged to arrest him.
However, Pretoria refused to arrest former Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir when he visited in 2015, despite an ICC arrest warrant out for him.