Paris- While the United Nations warns of the danger of “ethnic cleansing” in the Gaza Strip, European countries still strongly refuse to demand an immediate ceasefire or condemn the Israeli occupation for its crimes against the Palestinian people, while Arms dealers keep their profits constantly increasing, and the Israeli occupation army takes advantage of them to complete its crimes in Gaza.
In light of this, the “Coalition of Lawyers for France to Respect its International Commitments” and the “Committee of Lawyers for France to Respect its International Commitments” decided to file lawsuits against European officials and arms companies for their involvement in exporting weapons to Israel in a way that contributes to the killing of civilians in the Gaza Strip.
Pierre-Emmanuel Dupin, an expert in public international law, pointed to two types of measures that could be brought, as “the first will take place before national courts, especially in France, and the second before European courts against other countries that supply Israel with weapons, especially Britain, Germany and Italy.”
At the international level, criminal charges will be brought against the parties responsible for arms deliveries, including weapons companies and government officials (members of senior management and officers), who issue export permits, according to the international expert.
Speaking to Al Jazeera Net, Dupin, who belongs to the coalition of “Legalists for France’s Respect of its International Commitments,” said that these two groups will be charged before the International Criminal Court with “acts of collusion that enabled the commission of war crimes, which is an indirect criminal charge.”
He pointed out that criminal cases are currently being conducted before a Paris court, filed by Palestinian families who lost several members in a missile attack in the Gaza War in 2014. During the investigation, pictures were presented of the remains of missiles carrying components manufactured by a French arms company.
Dupin explained that the obstacle facing them is the length of time for the legal procedures, stressing that there are matters that may speed up their pace, most notably weapons deliveries, citing the attempt of labor unions in the Spanish port of Barcelona to obstruct arms shipments heading to Israel, as well as the question of French representatives in Parliament. Last week, he announced the steps being taken to ensure that the weapons handed over by France are not used to commit these crimes.
Although the residents of the Gaza Strip were exposed to a barrage of missiles and thousands of tons of explosives on residential buildings, schools, hospitals and shelters, Paris’s position on the exchange of weapons with Tel Aviv has not changed yet. Are the bombs used French-made, especially since it is the main European supplier of weapons to the occupation army?
This question comes after French arms sales to the Israeli occupation reached about 207.6 million euros during the past ten years, according to the latest report issued by the French Ministry of the Armed Forces.
According to the figures contained in this document, the French government also issued export licenses to Israel with a total value of 357 million euros, including nearly 10 million euros for the manufacture of “bombs, torpedoes, missiles, shells and other explosive devices and explosive devices,” as well as “high-performance systems.” Technology for directing missiles and bombs towards targets.
In addition to these exports, “dual-use” goods are added to the volume of trade with Israel, as well as transfers of hybrid-type components – for civilian or military use – with a financial value of 34 million euros last year, including 29 million euros for the “dual-use” category. Sensors and lasers.
In this context, Bertrand Heilbronn, head of the French Solidarity with Palestine Association, said: “A complicit and guilty silence befalls French President Emmanuel Macron, who has not yet called for a ceasefire in the besieged Strip. His government even voted against it in the Security Council on October 16, and has not stopped exporting weapons.
Speaking to Al Jazeera Net during a pro-Gaza demonstration in Paris, Heilbronn strongly criticized his country’s ongoing relations with Tel Aviv, especially the military, saying that “France must take decisive measures and sever its relations immediately, because what is happening today is not just a war but a genocide against the Palestinian people.”
Lack of transparency
Despite the arms exports report submitted to Parliament to provide these numbers and financial amounts, this does not give a clear vision of the extent of the danger of weapons designed with elements and components produced and marketed by France, especially since arms exports in the world are not measured only by the amount of money, but by their ability to destroy and kill.
This was confirmed by international law expert Pierre-Emmanuel Dupin, saying, “We are talking about expensive military materials and the report does not mention their details, and parliamentarians do not know them either because of the ambiguity surrounding French arms exports and the significant lack of transparency regarding military equipment.”
Dubin pointed out that the two legal bodies are working to collect specific data in cooperation with non-governmental organizations, “because the difficulty lies in accurately determining the types, weapons systems, and technology that are sent to Israeli forces.”
He added, “Whether it was sold 10 years ago or last year, the question arises: To what degree does France participate in war crimes in Gaza? What weapons does the Israeli army specifically use?”
But what is certain is that the French authorities have for years been supplying a country – already targeted by investigations for crimes against humanity – with weapons systems and military equipment, even after 2008 in the wake of the war that Israel called “Cast Lead” (the Palestinian resistance called it “The Battle of Al-Furqan”) and which it accused The United Nations accused the occupation army of committing war crimes in the Gaza Strip.
France ratified the Arms Trade Treaty (TCA) in 2014, and Article 6 states that a state party must refuse to export any weapon that could be used to commit or facilitate the commission of serious violations of international humanitarian law, or any war crimes and other violations of the 1949 Geneva Convention.
Gunpowder instead of peace
In a report by Human Rights Watch, it denounced Congress’ approval – at the request of US President Joe Biden – of additional arms sales to Israel amounting to $14.3 billion, in addition to the $3.8 billion in annual military aid it already provides.
The organization – participating in the lawsuits – also pointed out that the United Kingdom approved weapons licenses for the Israeli forces, including aircraft, bombs and ammunition, worth about $539 million.
While Canada exported weapons worth $33 million to Israel between 2021 and 2022, Germany issued weapons licenses worth a total of $916 million between 2015 and 2019.
Human Rights Watch said in its statement, “Future arms transfers to Israel from these countries in the context of serious and ongoing violations of the laws of war would make these countries complicit in these violations to which they knowingly and significantly contribute.”
The common denominator between all these countries is their refusal so far to demand a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and their explicit support for the extreme right-wing government of Israel.