French President Emmanuel Macron has doubled down on his refusal to characterize Russia’s conduct in Ukraine as “genocide.” He articulated his unwillingness to invoke the fraught term during a Thursday interview on the France Bleu radio network.
“Words have a meaning and we must be very careful,” he said, pointing out that “the word ‘genocide’ must be qualified by jurists, not by politicians.”
His reasoning echoed remarks by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres the day before, when he was asked about US President Joe Biden’s use of the term.
“Genocide is strictly defined in international law. And for the UN, we rely on the final legal determination by the appropriate judicial bodies,” Guterres stated. He also noted that the International Criminal Court (ICC) was already investigating the matter.
Earlier on Wednesday, Macron already said he “would be careful with such terms.” During an interview with France 2, he also demanded accountability for “war crimes” committed in Ukraine but emphasized that he was “not sure that an escalation of rhetoric serves” the cause of securing peace in the country.