For Paris, “there is no peace without justice”. Friday’s issuance by the International Criminal Court (ICC) of an arrest warrant against Vladimir Putin for war crimes in Ukraine is therefore an “extremely important” decision, said French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna 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,” said the head of diplomacy in an interview with Sunday newspaper. “Now no link in the chain can think that he will escape justice and this should lead many to reflect”, she continues, “so it is a decision which can change the course of events”.
A “historic” decision for Zelensky
The decision by the ICC, which sits 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 constitutes 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 Ukrainian justice by sending specialized teams on the spot to document the abuses or identify the victims”, comments for her part Catherine Colonna.
Asked moreover about the deliveries of 13 MiG-29 fighters by Slovakia and 4 others by Poland announced this week, the minister replied that “everything that helps Ukraine is useful”. “Countries that have Soviet materials that Ukrainians already know were able to make this decision. (…) To counter (the Russian offensive), Ukraine must be able to resist with the means available now”, she adds. And as for the future delivery of more advanced combat aircraft by France, “in principle, the President of the Republic and the Minister for the Armed Forces have said it, there is no taboo”.