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Namibia: ‘Germany first to commit genocide against us, genocide against Palestinians must not be ignored’

February 24, 2024 at 11:38 am

Namibia’s Minister of Justice, Yvonne Dausab attends the hearings on the advisory proceedings of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the legal consequences of Israel’s practices in the Palestinian territories in The Hague, Netherlands on February 23, 2024. [Nikos Oikonomou – Anadolu Agency]

Namibia’s Minister of Justice Yvonne Dausab on Friday accused Germany of committing the first genocide in the 20th century.

This came in a speech delivered by Dausab on behalf of Namibia during hearings held by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, Netherlands, to discuss the legal consequences arising from Israel’s policies and practices in the occupied Palestinian territories.

At the beginning of her speech, Dausab quoted a statement by the late Namibian President Hage Geingob, who died at the beginning of this month, expressing: “No peace-loving human being can ignore the carnage waged against Palestinians in Gaza.”

The minister stated: “I stand before you as a representative of a country where Germany brutally carried out the first genocide side of the 20th century against the Herero and the Nama peoples, a country that is known only too well the pain and suffering of occupation, colonialism, systematic discrimination, apartheid and their entrenched consequences. It is because of this history that Namibia considers it a moral duty and sacred responsibility to appear before this court on the question of the indefensible occupation of Palestine by Israel.”

Dausab also urged the court: “We appeal to you once again to end the historic and ongoing injustice by upholding the fundamental rights of a dispossessed people who have endured 57 years of a suffocating occupation.”

“Today, Palestinians are enduring collective punishment in the besieged Gaza Strip with civilians being killed in continuous and indiscriminate bombardments at a scale that is unprecedented in recent history. This state of affairs, this hell on Earth, represents a stain on the collective conscience of the world,” she noted.

In this session, Professor Phoebe Okowa, professor of public international law at the University of London, who acted as a spokesperson for Namibia, said that Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands is illegal and that the court prohibited the annexation of lands by occupying them in its previous decisions.

Okowa pointed out that racist Israeli practices in Palestine contradict basic human rights conventions and the principles of international law, asserting: “Israel’s policies and practices in the occupied Palestinian territory grossly violate its obligations under international law.”

Read: Gaza victims sue German government for ‘aiding genocide against Palestinians’

Okowa asked the court to: “Make it clear that the prohibition of apartheid is not limited to Southern Africa in the last century. It extends to Israel’s policies in the occupied Palestinian territory today.”

Friday was the fifth day of hearings held by the ICJ on the legal consequences of Israel’s practices in the occupied Palestinian territories at the request of the United Nations General Assembly, with the sessions scheduled to end on Monday.

Friday’s session included hearings from Namibia, Norway, the Sultanate of Oman, Pakistan, Indonesia, Qatar, the UK, Slovenia, Sudan, Switzerland, Syria and Tunisia.

Meanwhile, victims of the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip have been filing a criminal complaint with a German court for months against senior officials in the German government for supporting “Israeli war crimes and genocide” against the Palestinians.

Lawyers for the Gaza victims announced in a press conference held on Friday in the German capital, Berlin: “We are filing a criminal complaint against German government officials on charges of aiding and abetting genocide against the Palestinian people in Gaza by supplying weapons to Israel and issuing the relevant export permits.”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, Defence Minister Boris Pistorius and Economic Affairs Minister Robert Habeck are all accused of “complicity in genocide in Gaza” by supporting the Israeli military offensive and allowing the export of arms to Israel worth €326 million ($350 million).