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World Court refuses to ask Germany to stop Israel weapons exports

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

The United Nations' highest court has declined to order Germany to end its military aid to Israel - this in response to a request that Nicaragua launched last month. The judges at the International Court of Justice in the Hague - the ICJ - found there was not enough evidence for the Court to compel Germany to change its policies. Willem Marx reports.

M L KELLY: The United Nations' highest court has declined to order Germany to end its military aid to Israel - this in response to a request that Nicaragua launched last month. The judges at the International Court of Justice in the Hague - the ICJ - found there was not enough evidence for the Court to compel Germany to change its policies. Willem Marx reports.

WILLEM MARX, BYLINE: Nicaragua had called it, quote, "pathetic" that Germany supplies the Israeli military at the same time as it supports Gaza's Palestinian population. But in hearings earlier this month, Germany said Nicaragua's assertions, quote, "grossly distorted" its relationship with Israel's military. Germany presented evidence showing that only a tiny fraction of its military aid to Israel since October 7 could be used for lethal purposes - some 300 antitank missiles in total that would hardly be useful against Hamas.

The German legal team also argued it could not be accused of contravening the UN's genocide convention since the court itself has not yet ruled that Israeli actions in Gaza constitute such a contravention. The ICJ's panel of judges seemed to accept Germany's arguments, at least for the time being, and did not impose any of the so-called provisional measures that Nicaragua had demanded - measures that would have stopped Germany sending further military supplies to Israel.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

NAWAF SALAM: The court, by 15 votes to 1, find that the circumstances as they now present themselves to the court are not such as to require the exercise of its power under Article 41 of the statute to indicate provisional measures.

MARX: Germany had previously paused its payments to the UN's main relief agency acting in Gaza but has now resumed that financial support. And though today's legal ruling may give Germany's leaders some short-term respite, the politics of their policies in the Middle East continue to prompt protests at home, and Nicaragua has brought a case that the International Court has meanwhile been cleared to continue.

For NPR News, I'm Willem Marx in the Hague. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Willem Marx
[Copyright 2024 NPR]