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Does Germany share responsibility for what Israel is doing in Gaza?

Yesterday, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued a preliminary ruling in a case brought by Nicaragua against Germany. Nicaragua accuses Germany of genocide and violating international humanitarian law by supplying arms to Israel. Eric de Brabandere, Professor of International Dispute Settlement Law, discusses this on NPO Radio 1 and radio show NPO Nieuws en Co.

As Nieuws en Co reports, the ICJ has rejected Nicaragua's request, ruling that Germany is permitted to continue supplying arms to Israel for the time being. ‘There’s no evidence that Germany supplying arms poses a risk of irreparable damage,’ says de Brabandere. In fact, in recent months there has been a significant and visible drop in the amount of weapons that Germany has been supplying to Israel. Moreover, the materials supplied are not used in combat but for training purposes, de Brabandere tells Nieuws en Co.

Germany is supporting Israel because it has chosen to invoke its right to self-defence, Radio 1 reports. De Brabandere explains that Germany believes this is the reason why the case cannot be heard and Israel isn’t even a party in this case. Germany also wants to avoid commenting on genocide at this stage, as the case brought by South Africa to the ICJ accusing Israel of genocide is still pending. Germany also claims that it acted diligently and in line with German and European law governing the international supply of arms.

Asked by Radio 1 why the US is not being held accountable, de Brabandere says that both Nicaragua and Germany are parties to the Genocide Convention and recognise the ICJ’s jurisdiction. The latter does not apply for the US, however. Germany also recognises the ICJ in almost ‘all international legal disputes relating to the Genocide Convention’, adds de Brabandere.

On Nieuws en Co, de Brabandere is asked whether taking the international legal route is the right way to influence the case. He explains: ‘The question is whether, as an institution, the ICJ is best placed to address this issue. The ICJ is not the Security Council – it only acts within its mandate and does not have the power to intervene in conflicts directly, unlike the Security Council.’

The ICJ’s ruling comes at an ‘initial preliminary stage’, and it could therefore take years before a final ruling is issued.

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Photo: Gerson Martins through Unsplash

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