Top UN court throws out Nicaragua's Gaza 'genocide' request

Top UN court throws out Nicaragua's Gaza 'genocide' request
The UN's top court decided Tuesday that Nicaragua's case against Germany over the Gaza war "did not warrant provisional measures".
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Top lawyers from the two countries clashed earlier this month at the court over the case [Getty]

The UN's top court Tuesday threw out Nicaragua's request for emergency measures to stop Germany sending military supplies to Israel because of its war on Gaza.

International Court of Justice presiding judge Nawaf Salam said the circumstances presented to the court did not warrant "provisional measures".

Nicaragua had hauled Germany before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to demand that judges impose emergency measures to stop Berlin from providing Israel with weapons and other assistance.

More than 34,000 people have been killed in the Palestinian territory since Israel's offensive began on October 7, following a cross-border attack led by Hamas that left around 1,170 Israelis dead. Hamas says the attack was in retaliation to Israel's occupation of Palestine and aggression against the Palestinians.

Nicaragua targeted Germany rather than Israel's main ally, the United States, because Washington did not recognise the ICJ's jurisdiction in the case, Managua's lawyers have said.

They say Israel is in breach of the 1948 Genocide Convention.


Arms to Israel

Top lawyers from the two countries clashed earlier this month at the court, with Nicaragua saying Germany was "pathetic" to be both providing weapons to Israel and aid to Gazans.

Berlin retorted that Israel's security was at the "core" of its foreign policy and argued that Nicaragua had "grossly distorted" Germany's supply of military aid to Israel.

"Germany only supplies arms based on a meticulous scrutiny that far exceeds the demands of international law," said Tania von Uslar-Gleichen, a German representative to the ICJ.

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Those supplies are "subject to a continuous evaluation of the situation on the ground", she added.

"The moment we look closely, Nicaragua's accusations fall apart," Christian Tams, another representative for Germany, told the court.

Nicaragua requested five emergency measures, including that Germany "immediately suspend its aid to Israel, in particular its military assistance including military equipment".


Gaza genocide claims

Cases relating to the Gaza war brought before the ICJ are closely followed.

In another procedure, South Africa has accused Israel - which like the US is not a member of the court - of perpetuating genocide in the Gaza Strip.

Israel "categorically" denies the South African accusations, which include responsibility for starvation.

In that case, the court called on Israel to do everything in its power to prevent genocide and recently ordered the country to "ensure urgent humanitarian assistance" in Gaza without delay.

Even though ICJ decisions are binding, the court has no mechanism to enforce them.

For example, it ordered Russia to cease its invasion of Ukraine, in vain.