Putin in Brazil? Brazilian government defends the thesis of immunity from arrest

Putin in Brazil? Brazilian government defends the thesis of immunity from arrest
Putin in Brazil? Brazilian government defends the thesis of immunity from arrest
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BRASILIA (Reuters) – The Brazilian government defended, at the International Law Commission, a thesis that gives immunity to heads of state so that they can exercise their functions, especially in international forums, according to a document presented to the commission, in a position that would address the situation of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

According to the document, revealed by the newspaper Folha de S.Paulo and also obtained by Reutersthe Brazilian position is that the immunity of heads of state from foreign criminal courts “is crucial to guarantee the adequate performance of their functions, particularly when they are not protected by existing multilateral conventions”.

“Such immunity is essential to promote peaceful settlements of international disputes and friendly relations between States, including the possibility of allowing authorities to participate in diplomatic conferences and missions in foreign countries,” says the document.

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Brazil’s notes also incorporate a constant criticism of the Russian government, that international courts have been used politically.

Immunity in these situations, says the Brazilian document, “contributes to the stability of international relations, as it prevents the arbitrary and politically motivated exercise of criminal jurisdiction against State authorities”.

The Brazilian position also argues that the penalties and measures of the International Criminal Court should only apply to countries that are part of the treaty, and cannot create obligations and rights for a third party without their consent.

Russia was a signatory to the ICC, but left the treaty in 2016, after the court’s actions against the invasion and annexation of Crimea in 2014.

The issue of immunity, which has been debated in the commission since 2007, should return to the plenary at meetings at the end of this month. There is an attempt, according to one source, to reach a common design to establish the scope of immunity.

This is the first time that Brazil has formally presented a position.

The Brazilian position fits with Putin’s current situation, convicted by the International Criminal Court in March 2023 for war crimes. Since then, the Russian president has avoided participating in international summits and did not attend the last G20 meeting and the BRICS meeting last year.

G20 in Rio de Janeiro

A decision by the commission on immunity, along the lines defended by Brazil, would eliminate the risk of Putin being arrested if he decided to come to Brazil for the G20, in November, in Rio de Janeiro. More than once, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said that the Russian would be welcome in Brazil.

Brazil is a signatory to the ICC, which means that the country is under the jurisdiction of the court to execute an arrest warrant, if so requested. Failure to comply could lead to some type of sanction from the ICC, although there is no precedent to compare it to.

A high court source told Reuters that, in its interpretation, the country, as a signatory to the ICC, incorporates compliance with court orders into its legal regulations. But he highlighted that there are no similar cases for comparison and it is difficult to know what exactly should be done and what margin the country would have to fail to comply with the ICC.

Furthermore, he highlighted, a situation like this opens the way for “voluntarism” — the decision of a judge of first instance, for example, to issue an arrest warrant for the Russian president.

Other sources heard by Reutersthose in the diplomatic world, say that the signs so far are that Putin should maintain the standard and not come to the G20 in November, unless there is some change in the international scenario.

However, Brazil does not expect a decision from the CDI that could impact the Russian president’s situation until November, despite meetings being scheduled for April and July this year.

The article is in Portuguese

Tags: Putin Brazil Brazilian government defends thesis immunity arrest

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