Five Palestinians in war-torn Gaza sue Germany over weapons for Israel

AFP , Ahram Online , Friday 12 Apr 2024

Five Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip have filed a legal complaint in Berlin against the German government over its delivery of weapons to Israel, an NGO representing them said Friday.

Conference organisers put up posters with the lettering Stop arming Israel inside the venue prior to the start of the Palestine Conference in Berlin, Germany. AFP


The complaint seeks to "revoke the export licences issued by the German government for arms deliveries to Israel", the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for the administrative court in Berlin confirmed it received the complaint late Thursday. The five plaintiffs live in different parts of the Gaza Strip, including Rafah, the official added.

The Palestinians are "challenging the authorisation already granted for the delivery of anti-tank weapons" and seeking to stop deliveries that have not yet been authorised, the spokeswoman said.

The complaint is directed against the economy ministry, which now has two weeks to respond.

The five Palestinians have all had family members killed in Israeli missile attacks, according to the ECCHR.

The plaintiffs say Berlin is failing to fulfil its obligations under international law, including the 1948 United Nations Genocide Convention.

"Germany cannot remain true to its values if it exports weapons to a war in which serious violations of international humanitarian law are evident," said Wolfgang Kaleck, general secretary of the ECCHR.

Germany is the second biggest arms exporter to Israel after the US, accounting for 30 percent of imports between 2019 and 2023, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

Last week, Nicaragua hit out at Germany at the UN's top court Monday over its support to Israel, saying it was "pathetic" to give weapons to the Israeli government while simultaneously providing aid in Gaza.

"It is indeed 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," Daniel Mueller, a lawyer for Nicaragua, told the court.

Nicaragua asked the ICJ to impose emergency measures to stop Berlin from providing Israel with weapons and other assistance.

In a 43-page submission to the court, Nicaragua argued that Germany was in breach of the 1948 United Nations Genocide Convention, set up in the wake of the Holocaust.

On Tuesday, Berlin's representatives to the ICJ  insisted that Germany supplied arms only "based on detailed scrutiny... that far exceeds the requirements of international law".

Israel has killed nearly 34,000 and wounded 76,000 in Gaza, two-thirds of whom are women and children, since the start of its genocidal war on the strip on 7 October.

Also on Tuesday, Ione Belarra, the former Spanish Minister of Social Rights, urged Germany, along with the US and UK, to end their support for the Israeli campaign of ethnic cleansing and genocide against Palestinians in Gaza. 



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