Germany Rebuts Genocide Claim, Cites the Holocaust

Nicaragua brought case before the UN's top court over Germany's arms sales to Israel
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2024 1:45 PM CDT
Updated Apr 10, 2024 10:54 AM CDT
Germany Is Accused of Facilitating Genocide
Judge Nawaf Salam, third right, speaks at the start of a two days hearing at the World Court in The Hague, Netherlands, Monday, April 8, 2024, in a case brought by Nicaragua accusing Germany of breaching the genocide convention by providing arms and support to Israel.   (AP Photo/Patrick Post)
UPDATE Apr 10, 2024 10:54 AM CDT

In an appearance before the UN's highest court on Tuesday, Germany responded to Nicaragua's accusations that it has been facilitating genocide in Gaza by providing weapons to Israel. The Guardian reports lawyer Tania von Uslar-Gleichen cited the Holocaust, saying, "Germany has learned from its past, a past that includes the responsibility for one of the most horrific crimes in human history, the Shoah. ... Our history is the reason why Israel's security has been at the core of Germany's foreign policy." Lawyer Christian Tams said Germany had licensed only four exports of weapons of war to Israel since October, "three of which concern test or practice equipment." Only 2% of military exports to Israel since then have been weapons of war, he said, with the rest being other equipment, reports the AP.

Apr 8, 2024 1:45 PM CDT

Nicaragua on Monday called on the UN's highest court to put a stop to Germany's weapons sales to Israel. Israel purchased about a third of its military equipment from Germany in 2023, at a cost of $326 million. That's a 10 times increase over 2022, reports the BBC. Nicaragua argues that "by sending military equipment and now defunding UNRWA [UN agency for Palestinian refugees] ... Germany is facilitating the commission of genocide." Israel asserts it is acting in self-defense. Germany, which will present its arguments to the International Court of Justice on Tuesday, has called Nicaragua's case "grossly biased." The BBC notes it has been mum on its planned legal strategy.

  • Context: The AP reports Nicaragua's allegations "represent the latest legal attempt by a country with historic ties to the Palestinian people to stop Israel's offensive, after South Africa accused Israel of genocide at the court late last year."
  • Standout quote: Al-Jazeera quotes a lawyer for Nicaragua as saying it is "a pathetic excuse to the Palestinian children, women and men to provide humanitarian aid, including through airdrops, on the one hand and to furnish the military equipment that is used to kill and annihilate them… on the other hand."
  • Timeline: A preliminary decision is weeks off, and resolution of the case could take years.
  • Where the US sits in all this: The US is actually the top arms supplier to Israel, but as the AP reports, it would be nearly impossible to haul the US in front of the ICJ because "it does not recognize the ICJ's power to compel countries to appear before it."
  • As for Nicaragua: The New York Times notes Nicaragua is itself in the crosshairs, with a panel of UN-backed human rights experts in February accusing its government of perpetrating systematic human rights abuses "tantamount to crimes against humanity."
(More Israel-Hamas war stories.)

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