The top UN court is set to rule on Nicaragua's request for Germany to halt aid to Israel

The United Nations' top court is ruling Tuesday on a request by Nicaragua for judges to order Germany to halt military aid to Israel, arguing that Berlin's support enables acts of genocide and breaches of international humanitarian law in Gaza.
International Court of Justice
International Court of Justice

The Hague | The United Nations' top court is ruling Tuesday on a request by Nicaragua for judges to order Germany to halt military aid to Israel, arguing that Berlin's support enables acts of genocide and breaches of international humanitarian law in Gaza.

Nicaragua's case is the latest legal bid by a country with historic ties to the Palestinian people to stop Israel's offensive. Late last year, South Africa accused Israel of genocide at the court. The cases come as Israel's allies face growing calls to stop supplying it with weapons, and as some including Germany have grown more critical of the war.

On Monday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Israel must still do more to increase the flow of humanitarian aid into the besieged Gaza Strip.

At hearings early this month, Nicaragua's Ambassador to the Netherlands Carlos José Argüello Gómez told the 16-judge panel that “Germany is failing to honour its own obligation to prevent genocide or to ensure respect of international humanitarian law.” Nicaragua also wants Germany to reinstate direct funding to the UN aid agency in Gaza.

The head of Germany's legal team, Tania von Uslar-Gleichen, said Nicaragua's claims “ have no basis in fact or law." Israel strongly denies that its assault on Gaza amounts to genocidal acts, saying it is acting in self defence after Hamas-led militants stormed into southern Israel on October 7, killing some 1,200 people.

Israeli legal adviser Tal Becker told judges at the court earlier this year in the case brought by South Africa that Israel is fighting a “war it did not start and did not want.” Since Israel launched its offensive, more than 34,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, according to the territory's Health Ministry. Its toll doesn't differentiate between civilians and combatants, but it has said women and children make up the majority of the dead.

Israel blames the high civilian death toll on Hamas because the militants fight in dense, residential areas. The military says it has killed over 12,000 militants, without providing evidence.

Germany has for decades been a staunch supporter of Israel. Berlin, however, has gradually shifted its tone as civilian casualties in Gaza have soared, becoming increasingly critical of the humanitarian situation in Gaza and speaking out against a ground offensive in Rafah.

In the case brought by South Africa, the ICJ ordered Israel in January to do all it can to prevent death, destruction and acts of genocide in Gaza. In March, the court issued fresh provisional measures ordering Israel to take measures to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza, where experts say a famine is imminent.

Meanwhile, a separate investigation by another international court — the International Criminal Court — is also worrying Israeli officials.

The ICC probe was launched in 2021 into possible war crimes committed by Israel and Palestinian militants going back to the 2014 Israel-Hamas war. The probe is also looking at Israel's construction of settlements in occupied territory the Palestinians want for a future state. Israeli officials in recent days have expressed concern about possible arrest warrants upcoming in that case.

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