Top U.N. Court Rejects Nicaragua’s Request For Germany To Halt Aid To Israel

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The top U.N. court rejected on Tuesday a request by Nicaragua to order Germany to halt military and other aid to Israel and renew funding to the U.N. aid agency in Gaza.The International Court of Justice said that legal conditions for making such an order weren’t met and ruled against

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The top U.N. court rejected on Tuesday a request by Nicaragua to order Germany to halt military and other aid to Israel and renew funding to the U.N. aid agency in Gaza.

The International Court of Justice said that legal conditions for making such an order weren’t met and ruled against the request in a 15-1 vote, effectively siding with Germany, which told judges that it’s barely exporting any arms to Israel.

“Based on the factual information and legal arguments presented by the parties, the court concludes that, as present, the circumstances are not such as to require the exercise of its power … to indicate provisional measures,” said Nawaf Salam, the court’s president.

However, the 16-judge panel declined to throw out the case altogether, as Germany had requested. The court will still hear arguments from both sides on the merits of Nicaragua’s case, which alleges that, by giving support to Israel, Germany failed to prevent genocide in Gaza. The case will likely take months or years.

Salam said that the court, which earlier this year ordered Israel to allow more humanitarian supplies into Gaza, “remains deeply concerned about the catastrophic living conditions of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, in particular in view of the prolonged and widespread deprivation of food and other basic necessities to which they have been subjected.”

He added that the court “considers it particularly important to remind all states of their international obligations relating to the transfer of arms to parties to an armed conflict, in order to avoid the risk that such arms might be used” to violate international law.

The reading of the decision lasted less than 20 minutes.

Nicaragua's ambassador to the Netherlands, Carlos Jose Arguello Gomez, and lawyer Daniel Muller, co-founder of FAR Avocats, attend court on the day the International Court of Justice rejected Nicaragua's request that Germany be ordered to stop exporting military weapons to Israel and to reverse its decision to stop funding the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA on April 23, 2src24 in The Hague, Netherlands.
Nicaragua’s ambassador to the Netherlands, Carlos Jose Arguello Gomez, and lawyer Daniel Muller, co-founder of FAR Avocats, attend court on the day the International Court of Justice rejected Nicaragua’s request that Germany be ordered to stop exporting military weapons to Israel and to reverse its decision to stop funding the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA on April 23, 2024 in The Hague, Netherlands.

Selman Aksunger/Anadolu via Getty Images

The German Foreign Office welcomed the ruling in a post on X.

“Germany is not a party to the conflict in the Middle East — on the contrary: we are working day and night for a two-state solution,” the ministry said. “We are the largest donor of humanitarian aid to the Palestinians. We are working to ensure that aid reaches the people in Gaza.”

But it added that Israel has the right to defend itself and said more than 100 hostages are still being held by Hamas, “which is abusing the people of Gaza as shields.”

The court noted that Germany had granted only four export licenses to Israel for weapons of war since the start of the conflict, two for training ammunition and one for test purposes, as well as one consignment of “3,000 portable anti-tank weapons.”

Nicaragua, a longstanding ally of the Palestinians, alleges that Germany is enabling genocide by sending arms and other support to Israel. The head of Nicaragua’s legal team, Carlos Jose Argüello Gómez, told reporters at court that his country would press ahead with its legal arguments.

Israel, which isn’t a party to the case between Nicaragua and Germany, strongly denies that its assault on Gaza amounts to acts of genocide.

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.

The court also rejected Nicaragua’s request for Germany to be ordered to reinstate direct funding to the U.N. aid agency in Gaza.

Tania von Uslar-Gleichen, Germany's legal adviser and director-general for Legal Affairs of the German Foreign Ministry (L), and member of Germany's legal team, Christian J. Tams (R), wait for judges to enter the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, Tuesday, April 3src, 2src24, where the court rejected a request by Nicaragua to order Germany to halt military aid to Israel.
Tania von Uslar-Gleichen, Germany’s legal adviser and director-general for Legal Affairs of the German Foreign Ministry (L), and member of Germany’s legal team, Christian J. Tams (R), wait for judges to enter the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, Tuesday, April 30, 2024, where the court rejected a request by Nicaragua to order Germany to halt military aid to Israel.

Peter Dejong via Associated Press

Israel says it is acting in self-defense after Hamas-led militants stormed into southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people.

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 more than 12,000 militants, without providing evidence.

Germany has been a staunch supporter of Israel for decades. 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 new 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 inquiry was launched in 2021 into possible war crimes committed by Israel and Palestinian militants going back to the 2014 Israel-Hamas war. The investigation is also looking at Israel’s construction of settlements in occupied territory that 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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