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Nicaragua takes Germany to court over arms sales to Israel

Berlin’s military support enables acts of genocide in Gaza, according to the Central American country

Nicaragua called on the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Monday to halt Germany from providing military aid to Israel, arguing that Berlin’s support enables acts of genocide and breaches of international humanitarian law in Gaza.

Nicaragua’s Ambassador to the Netherlands, Carlos Jose Arguello Gomez, told the 16-judge panel that Berlin was ignoring its obligations under international law by continuing to provide military assistance to Israel.

“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 Gaza, Arguello Gomez stated, urging that this situation “has got to stop.”

The German government has rejected Managua’s allegations. Tania von Uslar-Gleichen, a legal adviser for the German Foreign Ministry, called Nicaragua’s case “grossly biased” and denied that Berlin is breaching international law.

“Germany does not, and never did, violate the Genocide Convention nor international humanitarian law, neither directly nor indirectly,” she told journalists at the hearing.

Berlin will present its arguments in court on Tuesday.

The case brought by Nicaragua comes at a time of growing calls worldwide to stop the supply of arms to Israel. Germany is the second-largest military exporter to the Middle Eastern country, after the US.

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UK facing growing pressure over arms sales to Israel

On Friday, the UN’s top human rights body called on countries to stop selling or shipping weapons to Israel. The US and Germany opposed the resolution.

In January, the ICJ imposed provisional measures ordering Israel to do all it can to prevent death, destruction and acts of genocide in Gaza. The orders came through a case filed by South Africa accusing Israel of breaching the 1948 Genocide Convention. The court has not ruled on the merit of the claims, and declined to order Israel to halt its military operations.

Last week, the ICJ ordered Israel to take measures to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza, including opening more land crossings to allow food, water, fuel and other supplies into the war-ravaged enclave.

Israel declared war on Hamas after the Palestinian militant group carried out a surprise attack on the country last October, killing around 1,100 people and taking more than 200 hostages. More than 30,000 Palestinians have since been killed during Israel’s operations in Gaza, according to local authorities.

 

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