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A top U.N. court won't order Germany to halt weapons exports to Israel

Presiding judge Nawaf Salam (fourth from left) arrives to read a decision at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, Tuesday.
Peter Dejong
Presiding judge Nawaf Salam (fourth from left) arrives to read a decision at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, Tuesday.

BERLIN — The International Court of Justice has refused to order Germany to stop sending weapons and aid to Israel, rejecting a request from Nicaragua.

Nicaragua brought the case arguing that by providing arms and other support to Israel, Germany is failing to prevent possible genocide against Palestinians in Israel's war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

In a vote 15-1 Tuesday, the ICJ judges said in a preliminary ruling that, based on the legal arguments presented, the requirements were not met to issue such an order.

The German Foreign Ministry reacted to the decision on social media saying, "Nobody is above the law. This guides our actions. We welcome today's decision of the International Court of Justice."

It continued, "Germany is not a party to the conflict in the Middle East — quite the contrary. We are working day and night towards a two-state solution. We are the biggest donors of humanitarian aid for Palestinians."

Israel isn't party to the case, but it has strongly denied it is committing acts of genocide in Gaza.

Germany is Israel's second-biggest supplier of military hardware, after the United States, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

In early April, the head of Germany's legal team, Tania von Uslar-Gleichen, said Nicaragua's case ignored "facts and the law."

"Unlike Nicaragua, Germany is not blind to the fact that Hamas also has obligations under international humanitarian law," she said.

Nicaragua's ambassador to the Netherlands, Carlos José Argüello Gómez, said during the opening of the case, "Germany is failing to honor its own obligation to prevent genocide or to ensure respect of international humanitarian law."

Germany requested that the ICJ throw out the case based on a lack of jurisdiction. The court, however, is allowing the case to continue, saying in its decision Tuesday it "remains deeply concerned about the catastrophic living conditions of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip."

Copyright 2024 NPR

Nick Spicer