United Nations

Germany denies accusation of aiding a genocide in Gaza at World Court


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Germany denies accusation of aiding a genocide in Gaza at World Court

CONFLICT. Palestinians shop as they prepare for the upcoming holiday of Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, in northern Gaza Strip, April 9, 2024.


Germany has been one of Israel's staunchest allies since the October 7 attacks by Hamas militants and retaliatory offensive

THE HAGUE, Netherlands – Germany denied accusations on Tuesday, April 9, that it was aiding genocide in Gaza by selling Israel arms in a suit to the top UN court by Nicaragua reflecting mounting legal action in support of Palestinians.

Germany has been one of Israel’s staunchest allies since the October 7 attacks by Hamas militants and retaliatory offensive. It is one of its biggest arms suppliers, sending 326.5 million euros ($353.70 million) in military equipment and weapons in 2023, according to Economy Ministry data.

Germany and other Western nations have faced street protests, various legal cases, and accusations of hypocrisy from campaign groups who say Israel has killed too many Palestinian civilians in its six-month military assault.

But Tania von Uslar-Gleichen, legal adviser for the German Foreign Ministry, told the International Court of Justice judges that Nicaragua’s case was rushed, based on flimsy evidence and should be thrown out due to lack of jurisdiction.

German arms exports were scrutinized to ensure adherence to international law, she said.

“Germany is doing its utmost to live up to its responsibility vis-a-vis both the Israeli and the Palestinian people,” she added, with Germany the largest individual donor of humanitarian aid to Palestinians.

Von Uslar-Gleichen said Israel’s security was a priority for Germany because of the history of the Nazi decimation of Jews in the Holocaust. “Germany has learned from its past, a past that includes the responsibility for one of the most horrific crimes in human history, the Shoah,” she said, using the Hebrew word.

A lawyer for Germany, Christian Tams, told the court that since October 7, 98% of arms exports to Israel were general equipment like vests, helmets and binoculars. And of four cases where war weapons exports were approved, he said, three concerned arms unsuitable for use in combat and were instead meant for use in training exercises.

Nicaragua and South Africa pressure Israel

On Monday, lawyers for Nicaragua had asked the ICJ, or World Court, to order Germany to halt arms sales to Israel and resume funding of UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA.

They argued Berlin has violated the 1948 Genocide Convention and international humanitarian law by continuing to supply Israel while aware there was a risk of genocide.

Israel says its war is against murderous Hamas militants, not Palestinian civilians, and that it is the victim of smear.

The Islamist group’s October 7 attacks killed 1,200 people, according to Israeli tallies. More than 33,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s Gaza offensive since then, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run enclave.

The ICJ is expected to issue provisional measures on Nicaragua’s case in weeks, but a final ruling could take years and the court has no power to enforce it.

In January, in response to an accusation from South Africa, the ICJ ruled that claims Israel violated some rights guaranteed under the genocide convention were plausible and called for a halt to halt any potential acts of genocide. – Rappler.com

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