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War on Gaza: ICJ allows Nicaragua case against Germany to proceed

The court says it remains 'deeply concerned' about situation in Gaza but ruled against issuing emergency measures
Nicaraguan ambassador to the Netherlands Carlos Jose Arguello Gomez attends a ruling at The International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague, Netherlands, 30 April 2024 (Reuters)

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has rejected a German request to throw out the Nicaraguan case accusing it of facilitating Israel's genocide in Gaza, allowing the case to proceed.

Presiding Judge Nawaf Salam, who delivered the world court’s decision on Tuesday, said that the ICJ remains “deeply concerned about the catastrophic living conditions of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip”.

However, the court ruled by 15 to one against issuing any emergency measures against Germany over its arms exports to Israel, arguing that the current circumstances did not require them.

The ICJ reminded all parties that they are obligated to “respect and ensure respect” to Article 1 of the Geneva Convention.

Germany welcomed the ruling, with its foreign ministry saying in a statement on X, “Nobody is above the law. This guides our actions.”

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Nicaragua brought Germany before the ICJ for violating the Genocide Convention and international law through its continued military and political support of Israel.

During a two-day hearing, Nicaragua accused Germany of “facilitating the commission of genocide”, demanding the court impose emergency measures to halt German arms exports to Israel and reinstate funding for the UN Palestinian refugee agency Unrwa.

Germany rejected the charges.

The Nicaraguan case argued that since the start of the war on 7 October, Germany has been fully aware that Israel was violating international law in Gaza, and that, following the ICJ’s ruling on 26 January that found a "plausible risk" of genocide in Gaza, these violations were tantamount to genocide.

From the start of the war, Germany has justified its unwavering support for Israel by invoking the country's right to self defence, with Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz saying in parliament that, "Israel’s security is part of Germany’s raison d’état."

Germany is the second largest arms exporter to Israel, approving $354m worth of weapons exports in 2023, a tenfold increase compared to the previous year.

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