Earlier in the day, a presidential spokesman said Ramaphosa had made an “erroneous” statement. He emphasized that South Africa remains a state party to the Rome Statute, which establishes the operation of the ICC, and continues to stand up for uniform and consistent application of the law.
The South African head of state said at a joint press conference with his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinistö on Tuesday that Pretoria would be wise to withdraw from the ICC, as the court treats certain states unfairly.
The background of the case is that South Africa will host this year’s summit of the BRICS group of countries (Brazil, China, India, Russia and the Republic of South Africa). However, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin in March, which South Africa, as a state party to the Rome Statute on which the ICC operates, should be executed.
South Africa has not condemned Russia’s operation in Ukraine and, according to its own statements, wants to remain neutral in the conflict, which it urges for a negotiated settlement.
In addition, South Africa was already criticized in 2015 for not detaining then Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and handing him over to the ICC.
Cover photo: MTI Photo/Gavriil Grigorov