For Paris, there is “no peace without justice”. That the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant against Vladimir Putin on Friday for war crimes in Ukraine is therefore an “extremely important” decision, French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said on Sunday.
This “means that anyone responsible for war crimes or crimes against humanity will have to be held accountable, regardless of their status or rank,” the chief of diplomacy said in an interview with Sunday newspaper. “Now no link in the chain can think he will escape justice and this should make many think,” she continues, “so it’s a decision that could change the course of events.”
A “historic” decision for Zelensky
The decision by the ICC, which is based in The Hague, concerns the “deportation” of thousands of Ukrainian children to Russia since the start of the conflict with Ukraine a year ago, which is a war crime. While Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called it “historic,” Moscow derided it as “null and void,” because Russia is not a member of the ICC and therefore does not recognize the jurisdiction of this court, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
“France supports the Court, just as it helps the Ukrainian judiciary by sending specialized teams to the scene to document the abuses or identify the victims,” says Catherine Colonna for her part.
Asked about the deliveries of 13 MiG-29 fighters by Slovakia and 4 others by Poland announced this week, the minister replied that “anything that helps Ukraine is useful”. “Countries that have Soviet equipment that the Ukrainians already know could make this decision. (…) To counter (the Russian offensive), Ukraine must be able to resist with the means now available,” she added. And as for France’s future delivery of more advanced combat aircraft, “in principle, the President of the Republic and the Minister of the Armed Forces have said that there is no taboo”.