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Germany denies complicity in Gaza genocide at UN court

Germany denies complicity in Gaza genocide at UN court
Germany's Director General of Legal Affairs Tania von Uslar-Gleichen (L), during the second day of the hearing at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), in the case brought by Nicaragua against Germany about the financial and military aid that the European country provides to Israel and the elimination of subsidies to the aid organization UNRWA, in The Hague, The Netherlands, 09 April 2024. According to Nicaragua, Germany is violating the 1948 Genocide Convention and the 1949 Geneva Conventions on the laws of war in the occupied Palestinian territories. EPA-EFE/ROBIN VAN LONKHUIJSEN

THE HAGUE, April 9 (Reuters) - Germany denied on Tuesday that it was aiding genocide in Gaza by selling Israel arms in a suit to the top U.N. court by Nicaragua reflecting mounting legal action in support of Palestinians.

Germany has been one of Israel’s staunchest allies since the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas militants and ensuing offensive against the Gaza Strip. It is one of its biggest arms suppliers, sending 326.5 million euros ($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 has killed too many Palestinian civilians in its six-month military assault.

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 and based on flimsy evidence.

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.

 

NICARAGUA AND SOUTH AFRICA PRESSURE ISRAEL

On Monday, lawyers for Nicaragua asked the ICJ, or World Court, to order Germany to halt arms sales to Israel and resume funding of U.N. Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA as emergency measures while the court prepares to hear the case.

They argued Berlin has violated the 1948 Genocide Convention and international humanitarian law by continuing to supply Israel even after becoming aware there was a risk of genocide being committed in the Gaza strip.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government hotly denies that, saying its war is against murderous Hamas militants, not Palestinian civilians, and that it is the victim of a global smear campaign.

The Islamist group’s Oct. 7 attacks killed 1,200 people, according to Israeli tallies. More than 33,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s Gaza offensive since then, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run enclave.

The ICJ is expected to issue provisional measures on Nicaragua’s case in weeks, but a final ruling could take years. Though rulings are supposed to be legally binding, the court has no way to enforce them.

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 ordered emergency measures, including a call for it to halt any potential acts of genocide.

(Reporting by Stephanie van den Berg; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)

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