Top UN court throws out Nicaragua's Gaza 'genocide' request

AFP , Tuesday 30 Apr 2024

The UN's top court Tuesday threw out Nicaragua's request for emergency measures to stop Germany from sending military supplies to Israel because of the atrocities it has committed in its war on Gaza.

Presiding judge Nawaf Salam, center, opens the court session of the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, Tuesday, April 30, 2024. AP


International Court of Justice presiding judge Nawaf Salam said the circumstances presented to the court did not warrant "provisional measures".

Nicaragua hauled Germany before the ICJ to demand emergency measures to stop Germany from sending Israel weapons and other assistance that could be used in its deadly war on Gaza. Nicaragua accused Germany of violating the 1948 international genocide convention.

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

Arms to Israel

Lawyers from the two countries clashed at the court this month, with Nicaragua saying Germany was "pathetic" for providing weapons to Israel and aid to Gazans.

Berlin responded that Israel's security was at the "core" of its foreign policy and 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.

In 2023, Germany, the second-largest arms supplier to Israel after the US, approved sending military equipment to Israel worth $353 million, The New York Times reported citing data from Germany's economy ministry.

The NYT added that Germany's weapons aid for Israel in 2023 was roughly 10 times more than what was approved the previous year, while German exports in 2019-2023 accounted for 30 percent of the arms purchased by Israel, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

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

The judges agreed with Berlin, saying "the court notes that Germany states that it has fulfilled the obligation incumbent on states parties to the Genocide Convention to prevent the occurrence of genocide."

In fact, it noted that "as stated by Germany" there had been a significant decrease in its supply of military material since November 2023.

Israel's war on Gaza has killed at least 34,488 people in Gaza, mostly women and children, according to the Gaza health ministry.

Cases relating to Israel's war brought before the ICJ are closely followed.

In another procedure, South Africa filed a case against Israel -- which like the United States is not a member of the court -- for perpetuating genocide in the Gaza Strip.

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, which Israel has failed to follow through with.

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

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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