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Germany denies accusation of aiding a genocide in Gaza at ICJ

April 9, 2024 at 3:36 pm

Members of the German delegation, including Tania Anne Peters, their lawyer from Germany attend 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, the Netherlands on April 08, 2024 [Mouneb Taim – Anadolu Agency]

Germany today denied accusations that it is aiding genocide in Gaza by selling Israel arms in a suit to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) by Nicaragua reflecting mounting legal action in support of Palestinian human rights, Reuters reports.

Berlin has been one of Israel’s staunchest allies since 7 October. It is one of its biggest arms suppliers, sending €326.5 million ($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 is committing genocide in Gaza, having killed over 33,000 Palestinians in six months, over 70 per cent of whom have been women and children, and displaced over 85 per cent of the population.

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 scrutinised 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 7 October, 98 per cent 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.

Lawyers for Nicaragua yesterday asked the ICJ to order Germany to halt arms sales to Israel and resume funding of 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.

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.

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