Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the Ukrainian President's office, took to Twitter on July 19 to comment on Russian dictator Vladimir Putin's decision not to attend the upcoming BRICS summit in person. He presented Putin's no-show as an example of “international law at work” and said that Putin was clearly too apprehensive to travel to South Africa.
"An individual with an arrest warrant from the ICC (International Criminal Court) won't fly to South Africa for the BRICS Summit," Podolyak wrote, pointing out that this holds true irrespective of Putin's "presidential" status.
"This is how international law should operate."
Podolyak further asserted that those who commit war crimes should feel the impending threat of justice, which is the cornerstone of international law.
“Committed a crime? Start looking over your shoulder,” he added.
“Restrictions on one’s capabilities, fear of travel, self-isolation, reputational ruin. In the end, a trial in a court of law.”
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa's office announced on July 19 that Putin would not attend the BRICS Summit slated for August, a decision reached "by mutual agreement". Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will attend in Putin's stead.
Putin's scheduled appearance at the BRICS Summit was to be his first overseas trip following the International Criminal Court's (ICC) issuance of an arrest warrant for him on March 17. The ICC has accused Putin of unlawfully deporting children from Ukraine to Russia since February 24, 2022, thereby committing war crimes. Putin is now liable to arrest in 123 countries, including South Africa, that have ratified the Rome Statute.
The ICC Prosecutor's office had urged South Africa to "do the right thing" if Putin were to visit. However, on July 18, Ramaphosa warned that detaining Putin at the BRICS Summit would amount to a declaration of war on Russia.
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