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France backs ICC after it seeks arrest warrants for Israel's Netanyahu, Hamas leaders

May 21, 2024 at 7:06 pm

Protesters participate in a demonstration in solidarity with Gaza in Palestine and for remembering the Nakba Day, in Paris, France on May 18, 2024 [Firas Abdullah – Anadolu Agency]

France backs the International Criminal Court and the “fight against impunity”, its Foreign Ministry said after the ICC Prosecutor requested arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Hamas leaders for alleged war crimes.

On Monday, ICC Prosecutor, Karim Khan, said he had requested arrest warrants for Netanyahu, his Defence chief, Yoav Gallant, and three Hamas leaders, including its chief, Yahya Sinwar.

If such warrants are issued, members of the Court, which includes nearly all countries of the European Union, could be put in a diplomatically difficult position.

“France supports the International Criminal Court, its independence and the fight against impunity in all situations,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement late on Monday.

While US President, Joe Biden, called the legal step against Israeli officials “outrageous”, the French Foreign Ministry took a different stance.

It warned about possible violations of international humanitarian law by Israel’s invasion of the Gaza Strip.

“As far as Israel is concerned, it will be up to the Court’s pre-trial chamber to decide whether to issue these warrants, after examining the evidence put forward by the Prosecutor,” the Ministry said.

Foreign Minister, Stephane Sejourne, told the National Assembly on Tuesday that Israel “must respect international law while conducting a war it did not start.”

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