Home News Middle East crisis: UN court decides on arms sales to Israel

Middle East crisis: UN court decides on arms sales to Israel


In early April, members of the German delegation held a hearing at the International Court of Justice in The Hague.Credit…Robin Van Lonkhuijsen/EPA via Shutterstock

The International Court of Justice will rule on Tuesday on whether suppliers of military aid to Israel are partly responsible for how weapons are used, as The Hague court once again becomes the focus of global efforts to curb the war in Gaza.

The judge will make a provisional decision Lawsuit filed by Nicaragua against Germany. In it, Nicaragua asked the United Nations’ highest court, the International Court of Justice, to issue an emergency order requiring Germany to stop supplying weapons to Israel and ensure that weapons already supplied are not used illegally.

The court’s response could answer larger questions involving Israel’s allies in Europe and the United States, including whether arms suppliers can be found complicit or even held accountable if aid is used to commit serious war crimes.

Nicaragua, a long-time supporter of the Palestinian cause, appeared in court in early April and told the court that Germany had not only failed in its obligation to help avert genocide for Palestinians in Gaza but had also facilitated crimes through military aid. Germany is a staunch ally of Israel and is second only to the United States in supplying arms to Israel.

Germany and Nicaragua are both parties to the 1948 Genocide Convention, which requires both countries to take action to prevent genocide, which is defined as not only killing or inflicting serious physical or mental harm, but also causing “calculated the living conditions to eliminate a group.” causing physical damage to all or part of it. “

Israel has repeatedly denied accusations that it is committing genocide in Gaza, claiming its military has been working to protect civilian lives while Hamas uses civilians as human shields.

In January, the ICJ issued a separate interim order requiring by south africa, specifies that Israel must prevent its forces in Gaza from taking actions prohibited by the Genocide Convention, must prevent and punish public statements that constitute incitement to genocide, and must allow greater access to humanitarian aid. The court was expected to take at least two years to rule on whether Israel committed genocide, but it found that “Like yes like no” Risk of genocide.

Germany strongly denies claims that its arms exports to Israel violate international law, saying the shipments were always permitted under German and European rules.

Nicaragua’s claims against Germany are broader than South Africa’s claims against Israel. Nicaragua believes that Germany’s arms supplies not only contribute to the risk of genocide but also contribute to violations of the Geneva Conventions, including the obligation to protect civilians during military hostilities.

Unlike Germany, which gives the court full jurisdiction, the United States protects itself and must agree to the case. It further protected itself from the Genocide Convention, which it signed but exempted itself from any obligations, such as intervening to prevent the genocide or paying compensation if complicity was discovered.

Critics of the Nicaraguan government say it is hypocritical to pursue Germany for violations of international law: A recent United Nations report Accused Nicaragua of “systematic human rights violations” and stepped up its crackdown on domestic government opposition.

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