After Nicaragua dragging Germany to ICJ, Berlin faces fresh lawsuit over arms sales to Israel

The lawsuit has been issued by four human rights groups

Germany arms sales to Israel German Chancellor Olaf Scholz attends the weekly cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin | Reuters

After Nicaragua dragged Germany to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the country is facing a fresh set of pressure to revoke all arms sales to Israel. A lawsuit in the German domestic courts urged the judges to urgently direct the government to revoke all arms licenses to Israel since the October 7 Hamas attack. 

The lawsuit has been issued by four human rights groups on behalf of five named Palestinians who say they are in fear for their lives in Gaza and are suffering a form of collective punishment by Israel. 

“It is reasonable to believe that the German government violates the arms trade treaty, the Geneva Conventions and its obligations under the genocide convention – agreements that have been ratified by Germany,” said a statement from one of the lead litigants, the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR).

Those Palestinians, who filed the cases have lost relatives in the war, their jobs and homes. “Germany must stop sending weapons that fuel this war. No other mother should suffer such a terrible loss,” said one of the plaintiffs. 

Germany is one of Israel's biggest military suppliers, sending 326.5 million euros in equipment and weapons in 2023, according to Economy Ministry data. It is considered to be in second place after the United States, a key supplier of weapons to Israel.

Germany has exported defence equipment worth €203m (£174m) to Israel in October 2023, reported The Guardian.

Earlier, Nicaragua approached the ICJ in The Hague and urged Germany to halt arms sales to Israel and resume funding of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). They had argued that Berlin had violated the 1948 Genocide Convention and international law by supplying Israel while aware there was a risk of genocide. 

Germany has denied accusations that it was aiding genocide in Gaza by selling Israel's arms. The country was defending itself in the top UN court brought by Nicaragua. 

“Germany is doing its utmost to live up to its responsibility vis-a-vis both the Israeli and the Palestinian people," said Tania von Uslar-Gleichen, legal adviser for the German Foreign Ministry. 


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