France backs ICC decision to arrest Netanyahu

France backs ICC decision to arrest Netanyahu

Shafaq News / France has expressed its support for the independence of the International Criminal Court (ICC) following the chief prosecutor's request for arrest warrants against Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Hamas leaders.

In a statement issued late Monday, the French Foreign Ministry said, "France supports the ICC and its independence, as well as the fight against impunity in all cases."

The ministry condemned "the anti-Semitic massacres committed by Hamas" during its October 7 attack on Israel, which included "acts of torture and sexual violence."

The statement also emphasized that France has urged Israel to "strictly adhere to international humanitarian law, particularly concerning the unacceptable level of civilian casualties in Gaza and the inadequate access to humanitarian aid."

ICC’s chief prosecutor Karim A.A. Khan announced, on Monday, his intent to seek arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, commander of the Qassam Brigades Mohammed Diab Ibrahim (Deif), and head of Hamas’s political bureau Ismail Haniyeh, in addition to other senior Israeli and Palestinian figures due to their roles in the ongoing Gaza conflict.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant also faces charges, as global and domestic pressure mounts on Israel to cease its Gaza military offensive and negotiate a ceasefire and hostage release deal with Hamas.

Khan accused Netanyahu and Gallant of committing war crimes, including the starvation of civilians, wilful killing, and targeting civilian populations, as part of a systematic attack against Palestinians.

Israel has been diplomatically attempting to prevent these ICC warrants. Despite Israel and the U.S. not recognizing the ICC's jurisdiction, the warrants could still restrict the travel of Israeli officials to countries that are ICC members. This situation places Netanyahu in a similar position to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who also faces an ICC arrest warrant.

The ICC, distinct from the International Court of Justice, investigates war crimes and crimes against humanity. It initiated a probe three years ago into alleged war crimes by both Israel and Palestinian militants dating back to the 2014 Israel-Hamas war. The ICC's current investigation, prompted by Hamas' October 7 attack, has intensified scrutiny of Israel's actions in Gaza.

Earlier, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell acknowledged the ICC Prosecutor's decision, stating that "all countries that have ratified the Rome Statute of the ICC must implement the court's decisions."

Furthermore, Germany expressed regret, noting that the ICC Prosecutor's decision creates a "false impression of equivalence" between the parties, while the UK deemed the ICC Prosecutor's request "unhelpful." The move by the ICC Prosecutor has been criticized by Israel, the United States, and Hamas.

It is noteworthy that the ongoing war claimed the lives of more than 35,000 palestinians and injured about 78,000 others, mostly women and children.

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