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Nicaragua, a long-time supporter of the Palestinian cause, is expanding the legal battle over the Gaza conflict at the International Court of Justice by bringing a case against Germany, a major arms supplier to Israel.

Nicaragua argues in its filing that “Germany is facilitating the commission of genocide” in Gaza and violating the Genocide Convention by providing Israel with military and financial aid. Calls for emergency measures ordering Berlin to stop its wartime support for Israel.

In hearings starting Monday at the court in The Hague, Nicaragua is also expected to claim that Germany is allowing serious violations of the Geneva Conventions by Israel, particularly the obligation to protect civilians during armed conflicts.

The case brought by Nicaragua raises new questions about the responsibility of countries that have supplied weapons to Israel for the war in Gaza.

Lawyers say Germany – Israel’s second-largest arms supplier, after the United States – is an easier target for a lawsuit than the United States. Germany has granted full jurisdiction to the International Court of Justice, the highest court of the United Nations. But the United States denies jurisdiction, except in cases where Washington explicitly gives its consent.

The Nicaragua case is the third before the court this year dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

South Africa first asked the court for emergency measures, arguing that Israel was at risk of committing genocide, a claim the court found plausible but which Israel has strongly denied. The court ordered Israel to ensure that its citizens and soldiers did not violate the Genocide Convention, which Israel signed. The convention prohibits actions aimed at destroying, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.

South Africa also petitioned the ICJ on hunger in Gaza and obtained a new bug order Israel to allow the delivery of food, water and other vital supplies “without delay.” Despite the court’s authority, it has no means to force Israel to comply with its orders. Israel has strongly denied accusations of deliberate starvation in Gaza.

In February, the court also took up a case requested by the United Nations General Assembly regarding the Legality of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.. Those hearings, planned long before the war, included more than 50 countries, most of which expressed anger and frustration over Israel’s attacks on Gaza and the worsening death toll among civilians, many of them children.

The Nicaragua case has a much broader scope than that of South Africa: it invokes violations of the Geneva Conventions and the convention against genocide, and demands the protection of civilians. It also accuses Israel of other “illegal” conduct in the occupied territories.

The court has not yet accepted the case, but is obliged to react quickly to requests for emergency measures, as in this case.

Israel, which is not a party to the dispute between Nicaragua and Germany, will not appear in court at this week’s hearings, which are expected to last two days. Germany is expected to respond to the Nicaragua case on Tuesday morning.

Support for Israel is seen as a historical duty in Germany in light of the Holocaust, but the growing number of victims in Gaza has led some German officials to question whether that support has gone too far.

Recent intense activity at court has put her in the spotlight. Lawyers say the countries have turned to the court because efforts by the United Nations and other negotiators have so far failed to stop the Gaza war.

“The ICJ is not going to end the war in Gaza, but it is a diplomatic tool that foreign policy uses to apply additional pressure on Israel,” said Brian Finucane, senior adviser to the International Crisis Group, a resolution think tank. of conflicts. . “In the case of Nicaragua, even more pressure is put on Germany.”

The Nicaraguan government itself faces sanctions for repressive policies in its country. A United Nations special report last month said the government’s numerous abuses, including the imprisonment and deportation of opposition figures as well as Roman Catholic clerics, were “tantamount to crimes against humanity.”

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