ICJ to hear Nicaragua case against Germany for ‘facilitating Gaza genocide’

International Court of Justice urged to stop Berlin from providing Israel with weapons and other aid in its deadly military operation in Gaza.

Pro-Palestine demonstrators gather outside the United Nations’ highest court in The Hague to denounce Israel’s war on Gaza, which has killed more than 33,000 people, many of them women and children [File: Peter Dejong/AP]Published On 8 Apr 20248 Apr 2024

Germany is facing charges at the top United Nations court for allegedly “facilitating the commission of genocide” against Palestinians in Gaza in coordination with its military and political ally, Israel.

Nicaragua will set out its case on Monday, with Germany due to respond the following day.

Keep reading

list of 4 itemsend of list

Nicaragua has hauled Germany before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), demanding judges impose emergency measures to stop Berlin from providing Israel with weapons and other assistance.

Germany has hit back at the allegations, with Sebastian Fischer, spokesman for the German Federal Foreign Office, telling reporters in advance of the hearings: “We reject the allegations from Nicaragua.”

“Germany has violated neither the Genocide Convention nor international humanitarian law, and we will demonstrate this in full before the International Court of Justice,” added Fischer.

In a 43-page submission to the court, Nicaragua argues that Germany is in breach of the 1948 UN Genocide Convention, set up in the wake of the Holocaust.

“By sending military equipment and now defunding UNRWA [UN agency for Palestinian refugees] … Germany is facilitating the commission of genocide,” says the submission.

‘Imperative and urgent’

“Germany’s failure is all the more reprehensible with respect to Israel given that Germany has a self-proclaimed privileged relationship with it, which would enable it to usefully influence its conduct,” added Nicaragua.

Nicaragua asked the ICJ to decide “provisional measures” – emergency orders imposed while the court considers the broader case.

It is “imperative and urgent” the court orders such measures given that the lives of “hundreds of thousands of people” are at stake, runs the Nicaraguan case.

The ICJ was set up to rule in disputes between nations and has become a key player in the war between Israel and Hamas that erupted after the October 7 attacks.

In a separate case, South Africa has accused Israel of perpetrating genocide in the Gaza Strip, charges Israel vehemently denies.

In that case, the court ordered Israel to do everything in its power to prevent genocidal acts and recently toughened its stance, ordering additional measures obliging Israel to step up access to humanitarian aid.

The court’s rulings are binding but it lacks an enforcement mechanism – for example, it has ordered Russia to stop its invasion of Ukraine, to no avail.

Protesters take part in a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Berlin in early April, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas [File: Lisi Niesner/Reuters]

Nicaragua has requested five provisional measures, including that Germany “immediately suspend its aid to Israel, in particular its military assistance, including military equipment”.

It also calls on the court to order Germany to “reverse its decision to suspend the funding of UNRWA.”

Germany said in January it was halting funding pending an inquiry into Israeli accusations that several UNRWA staff members took part in the October 7 assault.

Nicaragua said in its submission that “it could be comprehensible” that Germany would support an “appropriate reaction” by ally Israel to the October Hamas attacks.

The bloodiest-ever Gaza war began with Hamas’s unprecedented October 7 attack on Israel that resulted in the deaths of 1,139 Israelis and foreigners, most of them civilians.

Israel has killed at least 33,175 people since then, including more than 13,800 children, according to Gaza’s Ministry of Health.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies