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Germany faces fresh lawsuit over arms to Israeli military

· 5 min read

Germany faces fresh lawsuit over arms to Israeli military

TEHRAN- Rights lawyers have filed a new lawsuit against a German government decision to approve the shipment of thousands of weapons to the Israeli occupation forces.

Germany faces fresh lawsuit over arms to Israeli military

The latest case comes on the backdrop of rising outcry and outrage over the level of death and destruction the Israeli military has unleashed against civilian targets in the Gaza Strip. 

The controversial supply of weapons from Berlin to Tel Aviv has been under strong domestic scrutiny. It lays the foundation for what will be the second hearing this month on similar grounds. 

The latest case has been filed by lawyers from the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), representing Palestinians on the ground in Gaza, which calls on the government to revoke all arms licenses to Tel Aviv, including the government’s latest approval of 3,000 anti-tank weapons.

The hearing Is set to be held on Thursday. 

ECCHR is also warning that an export permit for 10,000 rounds of ammunition to the Israeli military is being considered by the German government. 

Last week, human rights lawyers launched an urgent appeal to suspend the exports of German-made weapons to the occupation regime of Israel that is committing genocidal war in Gaza. They cited strong reasons that the Israeli military was violating international humanitarian law in the blockaded Gaza Strip with the arms provided by Germany.  

“Germany cannot remain true to its values if it exports weapons to a war in which serious violations of international humanitarian law are obvious,” ECCHR Secretary General Wolfgang Kaleck said in a statement.

Support in Germany for an arms embargo against Tel Aviv has grown over the past several months amid UN warnings that the occupation regime is violating international law while engaging in multiple war crimes, including collective punishment, against the Palestinian civilian population. 

In February, a group of German lawyers representing families in Gaza also filed a criminal complaint against the German government for “aiding and abetting genocide” against the Palestinian people in the enclave by sending weapons to the Israeli occupation forces.

A court decision is expected within four to six weeks. Should the case be rejected, the lawyers say they will launch an appeal to the Federal Constitutional Court, Germany’s highest legal body.

Last year, Germany approved arms exports to the Israeli military worth at least $353.70 million, according to data from the economy ministry. 

This figure is a ten-fold increase in comparison with 2022. 

Germany is widely believed to be the second largest supplier of weapons to the occupation regime after the United States. 

This lethal support hasn’t gone down well with the German public who have voiced their anger on the streets in protest against government officials involved in the transfer of arms. 

On April 6, protestors took part in a large pro-Palestinian demonstration in the capital Berlin. 

The latest legal action is directed against the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, the department responsible for export licenses of weapons. 

The domestic legal hearings are not linked to the international case brought by Nicaragua, which last week laid out its argument in front of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague that Germany was in defiance of the Geneva conventions by continuing to supply arms to the Israeli regime. 

Lawyers representing Nicaragua asked the ICJ to order Germany to suspend arms shipments to the Israeli occupation as well as the resumption of funds to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

They say that in the absence of such measures, “Germany is facilitating the commission of genocide and is failing in its obligation to do everything possible to prevent the commission of genocide.”

Nicaragua says Berlin has violated the 1948 Genocide Convention and international law by supporting the Israeli regime with arms, while Germany was very much aware there was a strong risk of genocide being committed in Gaza. 

Lawyers at the ICJ also argued that German arms sales to the Israeli military make it complicit in Israeli war crimes.

Calling on Berlin to halt arms sales to Israel, Alain Pellet, a lawyer for Nicaragua, told ICJ judges “Germany was and is fully conscious of the risk that the arms it has furnished and continues to furnish to Israel” could be used to commit genocide. 

On Sunday, a group of civil servants also wrote to the German leader calling on the government to “cease arms deliveries to the Israeli government with immediate effect.”

“Israel is committing crimes in Gaza that are in clear contradiction to international law,” the statement said, referring to a separate ruling by the ICJ in January, brought by South Africa. 

The German government claims it has received Israeli assurances that Tel Aviv had taken precautions in executing its war on Gaza. 

Critics say there has been an abundance of evidence provided by international organizations, UN agencies as well as countries such as South Africa that the Israeli occupation is taking no precautions at all in the weapons it receives from the West, in particular the U.S., Germany and the United Kingdom. 

Since October 7, the Israeli occupation forces have killed nearly 34,000 Palestinians, the majority of whom women and children. 

The Israeli military has also broken international law by striking sovereign countries, including Syria and Lebanon, and assassinating and killing foreign nationals.

This is while the international charity group Oxfam has reported that 300,000 Palestinians trapped by the Israeli occupation forces in the northern Gaza Strip have been living since January on an average of 245 calories a day.