France ‘Intends Legal Action’ Against French-Israeli Soldiers Complicit in Gaza War Crimes – Report

France’s Foreign Ministry announced “its intention to pursue legal action” against French nationals serving in the Israeli army. (Image: Palestine Chronicle)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

According to Haaretz, the “underreported announcement” came after “pressure from members of the far-left France Unbowed party,” as well as the release of “various unverified videos” on social media platforms which show Israeli soldiers “engaged in illegal acts against prisoners of war.”

France’s Foreign Ministry announced “its intention to pursue legal action” against French nationals serving in the Israeli army who may be complicit in war crimes being committed in the Gaza Strip, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

The paper said that the “underreported announcement” last month came after “pressure from members of the far-left France Unbowed party,” as well as the release of “various unverified videos” on social media platforms which show Israeli soldiers “engaged in illegal acts against prisoners of war.”

In one video, soldiers are seen surrounding blindfolded detainees, all wearing white overalls, and whose hands are tied behind their backs.

The person filming is heard insulting the detainees in French, saying: “Did you see those motherf*****s, my nephew, those sons of bitches?”

He then laughs and continues, “Look, he’s pissed himself. I’ll show you his back. You’ll laugh – they tortured him to make him talk. Did you see his back?”

The detainees are seen being taken off the back of a truck, and the footage also shows the detainee’s scarred back.

Social Media Group

According to Haaretz, the video was initially shared in a WhatsApp group for French Jews.

The paper said “a Palestinian journalist” who gained access to the group shared the video on X.

The Palestine Chronicle found that Younis Tirawi posted that the footage was from a “french instagram group.”

“The individual who shared the videos has connections to Israeli-French soldiers, who sent her the footage. When I questioned her about the source, she freaked out and snitched on the suspects. She even gave me screenshots,” Tirawi wrote.

He went on to say that the person provided him with a list of “all the members in the group,” but that members started exiting the group and making “their accounts private” after she informed them of his enquiries “and making them aware that people can actually sue the soldiers if identified.”

Haaretz said Tirawi “suspected that the young man who posted the video was also its filmer. He then named the alleged soldier …through a thread on X, revealing conversations with S. that purportedly confirmed the true identity “of this perpetrator’.”

The alleged perpetrator however denied any involvement, said the paper.

‘Complicity in Acts of Torture’

The Haaretz report states that politician Thomas Portes, a member of the left-wing France Unbowed party, “brought the matter to the attention of the Paris public prosecutor’s office and the national anti-terrorist prosecutor’s office.” He cited the video as evidence of “complicity in war crimes and acts of torture,” the paper said.

“Following pressure from several lawmakers” in the party, Haaretz said, the French Foreign Ministry held a press conference and released a statement “reaffirming France’s authority to investigate and prosecute French nationals for crimes committed abroad – including those occurring within the current conflict between Israel and Hamas.”

“I would like to provide clarification on the subject of French-Israeli soldiers engaged in the Israeli army, and on this subject I would particularly like to recall that French justice has jurisdiction over crimes committed by French nationals abroad, including in the context of the ongoing conflict,” said Christophe Lemoine, deputy spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry.

“And in accordance with the constitutional principle of separation of powers, justice exercises this competence independently,” Lemoine added in a video shared on the official French page of the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs page on March 21.

Another  French politician, Matilde Panot, also commented on the video of the French-speaking soldiers, saying on X: “These individuals must be brought before a court and tried for the war crimes they are committing.”

“France must judge them upon their return to French territory. No torturer can benefit from impunity,” she said.

Calls for Action

French politician Portes has been consistently vocal about French nationals serving in the Israeli army.

In December the deputy of the French National Assembly, wrote on X that “more than 4,000 French people in the Israeli army which is committing war crimes in Gaza!”

“This is the largest contingent after that of the United States,” he stressed.

Portes said “Given the war crimes committed by the Israeli army, both in Gaza and the West Bank, it is unacceptable for French citizens to participate.

Prosecute French Nationals in Israeli Army for War Crimes – Lawmaker

He called on the Justice Minister, Eric Dupond-Moretti, to investigate the status of French nationals presently enlisted in the Israeli army, including those of dual citizenship.

Porter asked that those “guilty of war crimes be brought before French justice.”

“As colonization constitutes a crime against humanity, citizens of French nationality who participate in it in the Palestinian territories must also answer for their actions before the courts,” he said.

South Africa’s Stance

The French government’s declaration follows the firm stance taken by South Africa’s foreign ministry that it would prosecute any of its nationals serving in the Israeli army.

“I’ve already issued a statement alerting those who are South African and who are fighting alongside or in the Israeli Defense Forces,” Foreign Affairs minister Naledi Pandor said last month.

South Africans Face Prosecution for Joining Israeli Army

“We are ready. When you come home, we’re going to arrest you,” the minister added.

Her remarks follow an initial warning issued in December by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) that citizens who “have joined or (are) considering joining” the Israeli army could be brought to justice.

South Africa filed a lawsuit at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in December accusing Tel Aviv of committing genocide against Palestinians in the besieged enclave.

The ICJ found it was “plausible” that Israel had committed acts that violated the Genocide Convention and ordered that Tel Aviv take measures to prevent and punish direct incitement of genocide in Gaza.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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