Top UN court to rule in Germany 'genocide' case over Gaza

More than 34,000 people have been killed in the Palestinian territory since war broke out


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Published: Tue 30 Apr 2024, 8:32 AM

The United Nations' top court will on Tuesday rule on charges by Nicaragua that Germany is breaching the 1948 Genocide Convention by supplying arms to Israel for the Gaza war.

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

More than 34,000 people have been killed in the Palestinian territory since war broke out in October following a cross-border attack by Hamas that left around 1,170 Israelis dead.

The ICJ in The Hague is scheduled to issue an order at 3pm (1300 GMT).

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Nicaragua targeted Germany rather than Israel's main ally, the United States, because Washington did not recognise the ICJ's jurisdiction in the case, Managua's lawyers have said.

They say Israel is in breach of the 1948 Genocide Convention.

Top lawyers from the two countries clashed earlier this month at the court, with Nicaragua saying Germany was "pathetic" to be both providing weapons to Israel and aid to Gazans.

Berlin retorted that Israel's security was at the "core" of its foreign policy and argued that Nicaragua had "grossly distorted" Germany's supply of military aid to Israel.

"Germany only supplies arms based on a meticulous scrutiny that far exceeds the demands of international law," said Tania von Uslar-Gleichen, a German representative to the ICJ.

Those supplies are "subject to a continuous evaluation of the situation on the ground", she added.

"The moment we look closely, Nicaragua's accusations fall apart," Christian Tams, another representative for Germany, told the court.

Nicaragua requested five emergency measures, including that Germany "immediately suspend its aid to Israel, in particular its military assistance including military equipment".

The war began with an unprecedented Hamas attack that resulted in the deaths of about 1,170 people in Israel, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

Israel vowed to destroy Hamas, with a retaliatory offensive that has killed at least 34,488 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run territory's health ministry.

Cases relating to the Gaza war brought before the ICJ are closely followed.

In another procedure, South Africa has accused Israel -- which like the US is not a member of the court -- of perpetuating genocide in the Gaza Strip.

Israel "categorically" denies the South African accusations, which include responsibility for starvation.

In that case, the court called on Israel to do everything in its power to prevent genocide and recently ordered the country to "ensure urgent humanitarian assistance" in Gaza without delay.

Even though ICJ decisions are binding, the court has no mechanism to enforce them.

For example, it ordered Russia to cease its invasion of Ukraine, in vain.


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