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Nicaragua asks ICJ to halt German arms exports to Israel

April 8, 2024 at 2:56 pm

Nicaraguan Ambassador Carlos Jose Arguello Gomez speaks to press after the hearing on Nicaragua’s claim that Germany aids Israel’s ongoing genocide in the besieged Gaza Strip at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, Netherlands on April 08, 2024 [Mouneb Taim – Anadolu Agency]

Nicaragua asked the International Court of Justice on Monday to order Germany to halt arms exports to Israel and to resume its funding of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), pointing out that there is a serious risk of genocide in Gaza, Reuters has reported. The Central American country signalled its intention in February take this action.

Nicaragua’s agent ambassador Carlos Jose Arguello Gomez told the ICJ, also known as the World Court, that Berlin had violated the 1948 Genocide Convention by continuing to supply Israel with arms even after ICJ judges ruled it was plausible that Israel violated some rights guaranteed under the convention in its offensive against the Palestinians in Gaza.

“There can be no question that Germany… was well aware, and is well aware, of at least the serious risk of genocide being committed,” in the Gaza Strip, said Arguello Gomez. He told the judges that Berlin was ignoring its obligations under international law by continuing to provide military assistance to Israel. “This has got to stop.”

Israel has denied allegations of genocide and said it has the right to defend itself. However, no such right exists for an occupying state against the people living under its military occupation. Occupation itself is a de facto act of aggression.

The German government rejected Nicaragua’s allegations. “Germany does not, and never did, violate the Genocide Convention nor international humanitarian law, neither directly nor indirectly,” a legal advisor for the German Foreign Ministry, Tania von Uslar-Gleichen, told journalists at the ICJ. Berlin will present its case in more detail in court on Tuesday.

Germany has been one of Israel’s staunchest allies since 7 October, when a cross-border incursion by Hamas led to 1,200 Israelis being killed, many of them by Israel Defence Forces tanks and helicopters. More than 100,000 Palestinians in Gaza have since been killed or wounded by Israel.

Berlin is also one of the major arms exporters to Israel, military equipment and weapons valued at 326.5 million euros ($353.70m) in 2023, according to Economy Ministry data.

Nicaragua’s case at the ICJ builds on a genocide case brought against Israel by South Africa at the end of December. In January the ICJ ruled that South Africa’s claims that Israel violated some rights guaranteed under the Genocide Convention during its assault on Gaza were plausible and ordered emergency measures, including a call for Israel to halt any potential acts of genocide. South Africa has since contended that Israel has totally ignored the ICJ ruling.

Germany and the United States are among major donors which suspended funding to UNRWA after allegations that around 12 of its tens of thousands of Palestinian employees were suspected of involvement in the 7 October incursion. The agency provides vital aid to Palestinian refugees, not least in Gaza, where many people are now on the brink of starvation.

Berlin has since resumed some funding to UNRWA’s regional work in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the West Bank, but not to the agency’s Gaza branch, a foreign ministry official told Reuters.

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