Bad day for Germany at the ICJ

Judges at the International Court of Justice will have a hard job if they want to exonerate Germany of the accusations brought against it by Nicaragua.

Germany’s representatives were at the court today (Tuesday, April 9, 2024), trying to justify their country’s continued supply of weaponry to Israel while it commits what the court has already declared may be a genocide – and also trying to justify denying funding to UNRWA for aid supplies to the people of Gaza that Israel is slaughtering.

One element of this defence was Germany’s collective guilt for having committed one of the worst acts of genocide in history – the Shoah. This mass murder of around six million Jews stains that nation’s conscience and colours its foreign policy:

But Israel’s existence has never been at stake as a result of the actions of Hamas on October 7 last year, or the conflict in Gaza since then. There is no threat.

And with Israel said – by the International Court of Justice itself – to be potentially committing the same crime as Germany once did, Germany has put itself in the precarious position of being a formerly genocidal country that now appears to be aiding and abetting genocide.

The justification for this appears to be that Israel is acting in self-defence, and that International Humanitarian Law does not prevent any country from providing support in the form of weapons and ammunition to another:

If this was a genuine war, the second point may be a good one. But Gaza has no army, therefore no other country can support the people there in the same way Germany is supporting Israel. This reason may also form part of an argument against the first point.

But let’s go a little further into that. Let’s recall that around 15,000 Palestinian children have been killed by Israeli troops in the last six months. How many IDF troopers had to kill even one of those children in self-defence or in defence of their country? This Writer’s guess is: none.

In fact, Israel is an occupying force – an invader that does not belong in Gaza. Those who want to say it was not an occupier before October 7 last year, despite the fact that Israel controlled all supplies of food, water and power into Gaza and frequently murdered Gazan people, cannot dispute that it is an occupier now. As such, International Humanitarian Law requires Israel to protect non-combatants. Children are clearly non-combatants but instead of protecting them, Israel has murdered 15,000 of them. I wonder how many were killed by bullets or bombs built in Germany?

In the face of the above, Germany insists that it supports International Humanitarian Law:

Alongside this – gobsmackingly – German has claimed to be a strong supporter of Palestine, and continues to make these claims even while its bullets and bombs are used to bring Gaza down around – and upon – the Palestinian people there.

The comment attached to this clip is well worth noting:

Also – and perhaps more pertinent to this hearing: while it continues supplying arms to Israel, Germany has stopped funding aid to Gazans, distributed by the United Nations aid agency UNRWA. Is this what Germany describes as support?

Ah, but Germany reckons it has used all reasonable means at its disposal to influence Israel against excessive force, while providing as much aid as possible. Again, the comment alongside the clip is informative:

The best way to influence a friend to stop shooting and bombing people is indeed to stop providing the bullets and bombs that make it possible. As for providing aid, what has Germany done? It is easier to account for German aid if it has gone through an agency like UNRWA.

ICJ judges will provide a verdict in due course.

For those who are wondering why Nicaragua took to court only Germany, the country providing the second largest amount of arms to Israel, rather than the United States – which provides the most – here’s your answer:

There you go: the US has opted out of the relevant clauses in the statutes of the ICJ and the Genocide Convention that would allow such a case to be taken against it. In other words: the US would not participate in any such court action, nor would it abide by the ruling of the court.

But if Germany is subject to a critical verdict, it may sway public opinion – both within the States and out in the world. That could be more valuable in the long run.

One Comment

  1. ElDee April 9, 2024 at 11:46 pm - Reply

    The UK’s continued supply of weaponry to Israel is due to the recent review (prior to the aid workers being murdered) of export licenses. They have now admitted that their continuance is based solely on assurances extracted from Israel’s government. It seems to have taken no account of previous actions and previous broken promises in this respect. Now with David Cameron in the US we see both countries in lockstep also accepting assurances that Israel isn’t going to commit war crimes and despite having stated that Rafah would be the equivalent of a red line they are both saying that they need to modify their tactics to prevent mass civilian casualties. ie license to continue the murders..

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