April 12, 2024 | Flash Brief

Germany Rejects Nicaragua’s ‘Biased’ ICJ Case

April 12, 2024 | Flash Brief

Germany Rejects Nicaragua’s ‘Biased’ ICJ Case

Latest Developments

Germany roundly rejected Nicaragua’s accusation that it was facilitating Israel’s purported genocide in Gaza at an April 9 hearing at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Lawyers for the German government said that Nicaragua’s case was built on flimsy evidence and a one-sided view of the Israel-Hamas war. Tania von Uslar-Gleichen, legal adviser to Germany’s foreign ministry, told the court that Israel “has a right to protect itself” and that “Hamas terrorists use the civilian population as human shields.” She added, “Unlike Nicaragua, Germany is not blind to the fact that Hamas also has obligations under international humanitarian law,” emphasizing that Hamas does “not comply with its obligations.”

On the first day of the hearing on April 8, lawyers representing Nicaragua falsely accused Germany of violating the Genocide Convention for its continued sale of military equipment to Israel as the Jewish state fights a war against Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip. The Nicaraguans urged the court to issue provisional measures ordering Germany to “immediately suspend” military aid to Israel and to “reverse its decision to suspend the funding of” the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) — the UN refugee and welfare agency solely devoted to Palestinians. This body has garnered widespread criticism for its relationship with Hamas, resulting in a freeze on funding from 10 other donor countries alongside Germany.

Expert Analysis

“Nicaragua’s false charges are an abuse of the International Court of Justice. Israel is not committing genocide, and Germany is not facilitating genocide. Indeed, Israel’s advance warnings and other steps to mitigate harm to Gaza civilians make clear Israel’s goal is not genocide but, far from it, to minimize Palestinian civilian casualties while lawfully exercising Israel’s rights to free the hostages, apprehend October 7 atrocity perpetrators, and protect Israel’s population from further attacks.” Orde Kittrie, FDD Senior Fellow

“The bad faith accusation of ‘genocide’ against Israel stems from an unprecedented politicization of international law by the Global South — and sympathetic pundits, activist lawyers, and politicians — to serve an overall anti-Western agenda but which is now focused on Israel as a convenient target. What these same dishonest actors did by popularizing a corrupted definition of ‘proportionality’ — as it relates to both the overall legality of Israel’s war and how it governs Israel’s wartime operationsduring previous clashes between Israel and Gaza-based terror groups, they are now doing with ‘genocide.’” David Daoud, FDD Senior Fellow

Germany’s Military Sales to Israel

For most of the post-World War II period, Germany has described its special responsibility toward Israel’s security as a “Staatsräson” — a reason of state arising from the crimes of the Nazi Holocaust. Berlin is Israel’s second-largest arms supplier after the United States. Deutsche Welle, citing the Economy Ministry’s data, reported that in 2023, Germany sold Israel $353.7 million in military equipment and weapons. Data from SIPRI, a research institute, indicates that about 30 percent of military equipment purchased by Israel comes from Germany and about 66 percent is sourced from the United States. Speaking at the ICJ, German lawyer Christian Tams said that Germany has not sold Israel any artillery shells or munitions since October and that every export license is assessed by the German government on a case-by-case basis.

Nicaraguan Support for Palestinian Terrorism

Under the current left-wing regime of Daniel Ortega, who ruled from 1979 to 1990 and returned to power in 2007, Nicaragua celebrates terrorists and maintains close relations with Iran. In February, a UN-backed panel of human rights experts accused the Nicaraguan government of human rights abuses “tantamount to crimes against humanity” for its jailing of political opponents and violent repression of dissent. In legal terms, Germany is an easier target for Nicaragua, as opposed to the United States, as it has granted full jurisdiction to the ICJ, while the United States has to agree to ICJ jurisdiction on a case-by-case basis.

German journalist and Latin America expert Toni Keppeler observed that the lawsuit is an attempt by Nicaragua to gain international attention for the isolated Central American country, whose main regional allies are Cuba and Venezuela. It is also more prudent to pursue Germany than the United States, Keppeler added, as the United States could block much-needed remittances sent by exiled Nicaraguans.

South Africa Again Attacks Israel at the International Court of Justice,” FDD Flash Brief

ICJ Rejects South Africa’s New Attack Against Israel,” FDD Flash Brief

The ICJ’s New Chief Judge Has a History of Bias Against Israel,” by Orde Kittrie

ICJ Rejects Gaza Ceasefire Demand, Urges Hostages Released,” FDD Flash Brief


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