Imperialist Powers Use ICC For Judicial Imperialism, Says Communist Party Of South Africa

international criminal court ICC

The South African Communist Party (SACP), in an April statement, asserted that the timing of the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) arrest warrant issued against Russian President Vladimir Putin, issued just before Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Russia in March, indicated a political motivation and historical inconsistency.

“Unfortunately, imperialist powers continue to manipulate this multilateral institution and use it for judicial imperialism,” the SACP wrote in a statement, according to local outlet News24.

The party added that “despite many calls, and ample evidence, the ICC has consistently refused to charge the likes of Netanyahu, Bush, Clinton, Blair and Obama who have destroyed countries and killed thousands of people.”

S Africa To Clarify Russia Stance With U.S.

A media report said:

South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that he will dispatch an envoy to Washington to clarify Pretoria’s stance on Russia and its leader, Vladimir Putin.

According to Obed Bapela, Deputy Minister in the Presidency for Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, the move comes in response to criticism of South Africa’s “no-participant” and “non-aligned” position on the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the country’s longstanding relationship with Moscow.

President Putin is scheduled to visit South Africa in August for the 15th BRICS Summit — and concerns have been expressed about whether Pretoria intends to act on the ICC arrest warrant issued against the Russian leader.

In 2017, the ICC found South Africa in breach of its obligations by failing to arrest former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir when he visited the country in 2015 for an African leaders’ summit.

Following the incident, South African officials applied to withdraw from the court, a decision that was later reversed after a High Court ruling determined that such a move was unconstitutional.

As a signatory to the Rome Statute establishing the court, Pretoria has sought legal advice on how to deal with the ICC order against Putin.

Russia – which like the U.S., China, and India, does not recognize the court’s authority – has dismissed the warrant as “null and void from the legal standpoint.”

Russia has already responded by saying the ICC has no authority or legitimacy, as Russia never ratified the 1998 Rome Statute that established the court. Former president Dmitry Medvedev said that the charges meant a “complete collapse of international law.” Russian authorities have also initiated criminal proceedings against the ICC’s head prosecutor and three judges involved with the warrant.

Ukraine never ratified the Rome Statute either, but the government set up after the US-backed coup in 2014 announced it would accept its jurisdiction for crimes allegedly committed by Russia on its territory.

Hungary did ratify the Rome Statute, and was actually among the NATO countries and other US allies that sent the ICC a criminal referral on Ukraine on March 2, at least according to the court.

Washington was not directly involved, as the U.S. does not recognize the ICC either. After withdrawing its signature on the Rome Treaty in 2002, the U.S. Congress passed a law allowing for the use of military force to rescue any American or member of an allied military, should they be detained in The Hague.

Putin Warrant Could Derail BRICS Summit, Says South Africa

The ICC warrant for the arrest of Russian President Vladimir Putin has thrown a “spanner inb the works” of an upcoming BRICS summit in South Africa in August, a spokesman for South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday.

As a signatory to the 2002 Rome Statute, South Africa is obliged to enforce the ICC’s warrant for Putin’s arrest. However, the country is also hosting this year’s BRICS summit, at which the leaders of the world’s largest emerging economies – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – are due to meet.

“All heads of state would be expected to attend the summit. But now we have a spanner in the works in the form of this ICC warrant,” Ramaphosa’s spokesman, Vincent Magwenya, told reporters.

“What that dictates is that there be further engagements in terms of how that is going to be managed, and those engagements are underway,” Magwenya continued. “Once they have been concluded, the necessary announcements will be made.”

Ramaphosa’s government has been aware of the dilemma surrounding the warrant since its issue, with Magwenya last month declining to say whether Pretoria would enforce it.

South Africa and Russia have been close partners since the Soviet Union backed the anti-apartheid African National Congress, which today is led by Ramaphosa. Under his leadership, South Africa has refused to condemn Russia’s military operation in Ukraine or impose sanctions on Moscow, while the country’s military took part in joint exercises with Russian and Chinese forces earlier this year.

Hungary Would Not Arrest Putin

An earlier media report said:

While the Hungarian government has yet to take an official position on the ICC’s war crimes warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin, the prime minister’s chief of staff said that the country’s constitution wouldn’t allow for its enforcement.

“We can refer to the Hungarian law, and based on that we cannot arrest the Russian president as the ICC statute has not been promulgated in Hungary,” said Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff, Gergely Gulyas, addressing reporters during a press conference in Budapest.

“These decisions are not the most fortunate as they take things towards further escalation and not towards peace,” Gulyas said in reference to the ICC warrant, qualifying it as his “personal, subjective opinion.”

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