The G20 summit took place in India this month, featuring a particular focus on the international response to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. The G20 member countries that gathered in New Delhi refrained from issuing explicit condemnation directed towards the Russian Federation regarding its aggressive actions against Ukraine. However, the states collectively referenced the “human suffering and adverse repercussions of the conflict in Ukraine on global food and energy security,” in the Delhi declaration, according to BBC News.
In March 2023, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a Warrant for the arrest of Russian President Vladimir Putin for unlawful deportation of children and unlawful transfer of population, Al Jazeera reports. As a consequence of this warrant, Putin chose to abstain from participation in the scheduled G20 Summit, as a way to avoid international judicial prosecution while in New Delhi.
Next September, the G20 summit is scheduled to convene once again in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. According to The Guardian, left-wing President of Brazil Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva commented, that Putin can go easily to Brazil. Lula further asserted, “…if I’m Brazil’s president, and if he comes to Brazil, there’s no reason he’ll be arrested,” eliciting much criticism, largely because of Brazil’s inclusion in the 1998 Rome Statute.
Brazil was a signatory of the Rome Statute, a 1998 treaty that established the ICC, thereby committing itself to collaborative efforts with the ICC on matters pertaining to human rights, international criminal law, and enforcement of punishment. Through Lula’s statement pertaining to Putin’s inclusion in the G20 Summit at Rio, the Brazilian president signifies a potential breach of the stipulations delineated within the Rome Statute. According to Bloomberg, because Russia pulled out of the Rome Statute in 2016, it is unlikely that Putin will surrender to the ICC and recognize their crimes. However, considering Brazil’s continued status as a signatory to the Rome Statute, affording President Putin the opportunity to enter Brazilian territory without the threat of legal prosecution would be against the treaty.
Historically, Brazil has been a staunch supporter of multilateralism, exemplified in its active engagement in major intergovernmental organizations such as the United Nations (UN) and Inter-American Institute (IAI). However, Brazil’s recent policy orientation has placed an emphasis on the cultivation of alternative forums in collaboration with India, China, and Russia. An example of this alternative forum is the establishment of BRICS as reported by Washington Post. Founded in 2009, the BRICS framework is deliberately geared towards the advancements of economic synergies of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa to address the global apprehension felt by countries wielded by the dominance of the United States (U.S.) and other Western powers in the international economy as reported by Reuters. Such organizations have brought Russia and Brazil closer, and this growing relationship could be backed by Lula’s role in Ukraine Russia conflict.
Da Silva has openly condemned the U.S. for its role in the war, stating that the U.S. must stop “encouraging war,” garnering Russian praise, BBC describes. As the war in Ukraine continues to play out, eyes are on da Silva and the Brazilian government to see how he continues to associate with Putin.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons