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Amidst War Crimes Allegations, S’A Grants Diplomatic Immunity To Putin To Attend BRICS Countries’ Meetings

South Africa has expressed its readiness to provide diplomatic immunity to attendees of two meetings of officials from the BRICS group of countries — a practice the government said is routine — as it prepares to host Russian President Vladimir Putin at a summit in August. 

Officials attending the BRICS foreign ministers meeting commencing on Thursday in South Africa are also protected by the protection, according to a gazette notification published on Monday by foreign affairs minister Naledi Pandor.

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The notice was issued in accordance with the diplomatic immunities and privileges law, which stipulates that representatives of any state attending an international conference or meeting held in South Africa are entitled to immunity, as are officials and experts of the UN, any specialized agency or organization, as well as those who are speaking on behalf of any other state.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation’s spokesperson, Clayson Monyela, claimed that Ms. Pandor’s notification was standard procedure and that equivalent notices were given each time a comparable international summit was held in South Africa.

The news comes as pressure mounts on the South African government to decide whether to permit Mr. Putin to attend. The International Criminal Court is seeking him for allegedly committing war crimes during his nation’s invasion of Ukraine.

According to expectations, South Africa, a signatory to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, will carry out the war crimes warrant and detain Mr. Putin. However, the South African Defense Force (SANDF) declared on Monday that it lacked the power to detain Mr. Putin if he attended the BRICS summit.

The commander of the SANDF, Rudzani Maphwanywa, acknowledged the ICC’s warrant but insisted that the force upholds international law and respects the immunity of diplomats.