France Backs ICC After Prosecutor Seeks Arrest Warrants for Israel’s Netanyahu

PARIS – France has reaffirmed its support for the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the fight against impunity following the court’s prosecutor’s request for arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other officials for alleged war crimes.

On Monday, ICC prosecutor Karim Khan announced that he had sought arrest warrants for Netanyahu, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and three Hamas leaders, including its chief, Yahya Sinwar.

France’s foreign ministry, in a statement late on Monday, emphasized its backing of the ICC’s independence and its mission to combat impunity in all situations. “France supports the International Criminal Court, its independence, and the fight against impunity in all situations,” the statement read.

While U.S. President Joe Biden labeled the legal action against Israeli officials as “outrageous,” France took a different stance. The French foreign ministry reiterated its condemnation of Hamas’s anti-Semitic massacres on October 7 and warned of potential violations of international humanitarian law by Israel during its 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 stated.

This position highlights France’s commitment to international justice and its nuanced approach to the complex situation, balancing condemnation of Hamas’s actions with concerns over Israel’s military conduct.