France Says it ‘Supports ICC’ Over Warrants Sought for Israel, Hamas Leaders

Tue May 21 2024
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PARIS, France: France said late Monday it supports the independence of the International Criminal Court (ICC) whose prosecutor has sought issuance of arrest warrants for leaders from Israel, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Islamist movement Hamas.

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

As Washington scrambled to defend its key ally, Israel on the issue of genocide allegations, Foreign Secretary Antony Blinken Monday warned that the Hague-based court’s move could damage ceasefire talks to end the Gaza conflict.

International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan is seeking arrest warrants for Netanyahu and Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, as well as top Hamas officials, on suspicion of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

In a statement, Biden said, “The ICC prosecutor’s application for arrest warrants against Israeli leaders is outrageous”.

“And let me be clear: Whatever this prosecutor might imply, there is no equivalence — none — between Israel and Hamas.”

Biden further said that the US “will always stand with Israel against threats to its security.”

Neither the United States nor Israel are members of the ICC, which was established in 2002 as a court of last resort for the world’s worst crimes.

Asked whether Biden supported the ICC’s arrest warrants for Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar and political chief Ismail Haniyeh, White House spokesman John Kirby said “we don’t believe the ICC has jurisdiction over this matter.”

Biden’s statement of support for Netanyahu on the ICC bid comes despite recent tensions surrounding Israel’s war on Gaza in response to the October 7 attack by Hamas.

The United States “fundamentally rejects” the ICC prosecutor’s request for arrest, Blinken said.

“We reject the prosecutor’s equivalence of Israel with Hamas. It is shameful,” Blinken added.

He further said that “this decision does nothing to help and could jeopardize ongoing efforts to reach a ceasefire agreement that would get the hostages out and get humanitarian aid flowing”.

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