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France backs ICC’s move to seek arrest warrants for Netanyahu, Hamas leaders

France backs ICC’s move to seek arrest warrants for Netanyahu, Hamas leaders
May 22
14:47 2024

France has voiced support for the arrest warrants which the International Criminal Court (ICC) is seeking against Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli prime minister, and Yoav Gallant, defence minister.

The ICC is also seeking warrants for three Hamas chiefs — Yahya Sinwar, leader of the Palestinian militant group; Mohammed Al-Masri, leader of the Al Qassem Brigades; and Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas’ political leader.

While the US has called the move “outrageous”, France welcomed the development.

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

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“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 reiterated its condemnation of Hamas’ “anti-Semitic massacres” last year, as well as its warnings over possible violations of international humanitarian law by Israel’s invasion of the Gaza Strip.

However, on Tuesday, Stephane Sejourne, France’s foreign affairs minister, said the requests should not lead to “equivalency” between Hamas and Israel.

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“On one side you have a terrorist group that congratulated itself on the October 7 attacks… and on the other side you have a democracy, Israel, that must respect international law while conducting a war it did not start,” Sejourne said.

The foreign ministry said it would continue its “fight against impunity”.

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