French judiciary rejects Amnesty’s request to suspend arms sales to Israel

A representative of the French Ministry of Defense acknowledged the seriousness of the situation in the Middle East, noting that France's stance on the war in Gaza is balanced

The French administrative court rejected a request on Saturday by Amnesty International to suspend the delivery of French weapons to Israel due to the war in Gaza.

The emergency judge at the Administrative Court in Paris declared his lack of jurisdiction, thus rejecting the complaint, considering this issue “not separate from the course of France’s international relations,” thereby supporting the argument put forth by government representative Antoine Bavaud during a brief hearing on Saturday morning.

The French branch of Amnesty International filed a complaint this week, alongside a human rights association, in an attempt to compel the government to suspend licenses for the export of certain military equipment to Israel until the Israeli state complies with its international commitments.

This request specifically includes export licenses for military equipment from categories ML5, allowing artillery to target objectives, and ML15 used in surveillance and radar systems.

During the hearing, Lionel Croizat, a lawyer for Amnesty International, referred to the “catastrophic humanitarian situation” in Gaza and the recent stance of the UN Human Rights Council calling for a halt to all arms sales to Israel.

Responding to a question about the seriousness of the situation in the Middle East, a representative of the Ministry of Defense, Vincent Drouin, said, “No one denies the seriousness of the situation in the Middle East,” but France’s stance is “balanced” because it has called for a ceasefire. He affirmed that France does not supply weapons to Israel but rather “components integrated into a purely defensive weapons system.”

The court is expected to rule early next week on two similar requests filed by other organizations, one of which was submitted by the non-governmental organization “Action Security Ethic Republic” and the Movement of Christians for the Abolition of Torture, and “Stop Fuelling War and Sherpa,” a complaint demanding the suspension of licenses for the export of military equipment from the “U3” category (ammunition and ammunition components) to Israel.

The other request was submitted by a group including “Attac” and “France Palestine Solidarity” and includes all export licenses for military equipment to Israel.

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