The issuing by the International Criminal Court (ICC) of an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin on charges of war crimes in Ukraine on Friday is an “extremely important” decision, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said in an interview published on Sunday.
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“This decision is extremely important because it means that anyone responsible for war crimes or crimes against humanity must be held accountable, regardless of their status or rank,” the head of French diplomacy said in an interview with the weekly Sunday newspaper.
“No link in the chain can now believe that it will escape justice and this should give many food for thought,” she continues, “so it’s a decision that can change the course of things”.
The Hague-based International Criminal Court’s decision concerns the “deportation” of thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia since the conflict with Ukraine began a year ago, which constitutes a war crime.
While Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called it “historic,” Moscow derided it as “null and void” because Russia is not a member of the International Criminal Court and therefore does not recognize that court’s jurisdiction, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
“France supports the Court as well as helping the Ukrainian judiciary by sending specialized teams on the ground to document the abuses or identify the victims,” commented Catherine Colonna.
Asked about the deliveries of 13 MiG-29 fighters by Slovakia and 4 more by Poland announced this week, the French foreign minister replied that “anything that helps Ukraine is useful”.
“Countries that have Soviet material that Ukrainians already know could make this decision. (…) In order to counter (the Russian offensive), Ukraine must be able to resist with the means now available,” she added.
Regarding the future delivery by France of more advanced combat aircraft, “the President of the Republic and the Minister of the Armed Forces have said in principle that there is no taboo,” repeated the head of French diplomacy.