Unlike Biden, Macron Still Won't Use the Word 'Genocide'

The French President doesn't think heightened rhetoric will lead to peace
By Mike L. Ford,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 13, 2022 4:05 PM CDT
Unlike Biden, Macron Still Won't Use the Word 'Genocide'
French President and centrist candidate for reelection Emmanuel Macron gestures during the evening news broadcast of French TV channel TF1, in Boulogne-Billancourt, outside Paris, Wednesday, April 13, 2022.   (Ludovic Marin, Pool via AP)

French President Emmanual Macron said Wednesday he still prefers the term "war crimes" over "genocide" in reference to events in Ukraine, per the Hill. Macron said he wants to "stop the war and build peace," and he worries such rhetoric will only raise tensions. For his part, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says genocide is the correct word for Russian actions. "Calling things by their name is essential to stand up to evil," he tweeted earlier this week. Zelensky was expressing agreement with President Joe Biden, who on Tuesday—for the first time—accused Russia of committing genocide.

Biden’s remark "initially came offhandedly during a speech at a bioethanol plant in Iowa," the New York Times reports. It marked a major departure from a recent statement in which he called Putin a war criminal after evidence of atrocities was found outside Kyiv, but Biden specifically said events there did not rise to the level of genocide. Per the Guardian, Macron referred to Ukrainians and Russians as "brotherly people" in justifying his stance. A spokesman for Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry responded by saying, "'Brotherly people' don’t kill children, don’t shoot civilians, don’t rape women, don't mutilate the elderly, and don’t destroy the homes of other 'brotherly' people."

In later remarks, Biden said he called it genocide "because it’s become clearer and clearer that Putin is just trying to wipe out even the idea of being Ukrainian.” According to NBC News, the term genocide is defined by the UN as acts "committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group." The UN definition includes, among other things, killings and other forms of serious bodily or psychological harm, efforts to prevent births, and the forcible transfer of children. Also per NBC, “in the US, the State Department makes determinations if mass killings amount to genocide and will collect evidence over a long period of time before making a ruling.” (More Emmanuel Macron stories.)

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