Nicaragua-Germany Gaza case before ICJ

The Hague-based ICJ said it will hold hearings on April 8 and 9 for both countries to make submissions…reports Asian Lite News

Top UN judges will start listening to submissions next month in the case filed by Nicaragua accusing Berlin of facilitating “genocide” in Gaza because it supported Israel, officials said on Friday.

Two weeks ago, Nicaragua filed a case against Germany before the International Court of Justice, saying Berlin was “facilitating the commission of genocide and … failed in its obligation to do everything possible to prevent the commission of genocide” in Gaza.

This included Berlin’s suspension of funding of the UN Palestinian refugee agency.

The Hague-based ICJ said it will hold hearings on April 8 and 9 for both countries to make submissions.

“The hearings will be devoted to the request for the indication of provisional measures contained in Nicaragua’s application,” the ICJ said in a statement.

Managua had asked the court to take a swift interim stance against Germany before judges gave the case an in-depth study.

The lodging of the case follows the ICJ saying on January 26 that Israel must do everything to prevent genocidal acts in Gaza and take “immediate” measures for aid provisions.

That interim order was given as the court moves to weigh in full a case lodged in December by South Africa alleging that Israel was engaged in genocide in Gaza.

Israel has dismissed South Africa’s case as a “grossly distorted story.”

ICJ rulings are legally binding, but the court has no enforcement mechanism.

Accusations from Israel that staff from UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, took part in the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel prompted several countries — including Germany, Britain, Japan and the US — to suspend their funding.

However, Canada and Sweden said they would resume UNRWA aid, and Spain has pledged an additional €20 million. Efforts have intensified to bring more aid into the war-devastated Gaza.

Scholz heads to Israel

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz urged Israel on Saturday to allow humanitarian aid access to Gaza on a larger scale, ahead of a two-day trip to the Middle East.

Scholz will travel to the Jordanian Red Sea port of Aqaba on Saturday to meet on Sunday with Jordan’s King Abdullah before flying on to Israel to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“It is necessary for aid to reach Gaza on a larger scale now. That will be a topic that I also have to talk about,” Scholz told journalists ahead of his trip.

He also voiced concern about Israel’s planned offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where more than half the Palestinian’s enclave’s population of 2.3 million have taken shelter.

“There is a danger that a comprehensive offensive in Rafah will result in many terrible civilian casualties, which must be strictly prohibited,” he added.

Germany’s air force said it dropped pallets with four tons of relief goods by air into the enclave on Saturday.

“Every package counts. But airdrops are just a drop in the ocean,” the foreign ministry said on the social media platform X.

Israel’s air and ground campaign in Gaza, triggered by Hamas’ attack on Oct. 7, has displaced most of the population and left people in dire need of food and other essentials.

Germany joins operation to airdrop aid into Gaza

Germany said Wednesday it was joining an air bridge operation along with several other countries to drop desperately needed humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip.

The operation, initiated by Jordan, already has the participation of several other countries including France and the United States.

The defense ministry said it would deploy the German part of a joint German-French air transport squadron to participate in the mission.

The team is equipped with C-130J Hercules transport planes, said the ministry, adding that Germany’s operation could begin as soon as the end of this week.

“The people in Gaza are lacking the most basic necessities. We want to do our part to ensure that they get access to food and medicine,” said Defense Minister Boris Pistorius.

After one parachuted airdrop turned lethal on March 8, the minister sought to allay fears.

“The truth is that airdrops are not without danger. The crews responsible are trained for the relevant procedures and highly experienced,” he said.

Gaza has faced relentless bombardment by Israel since Hamas launched a cross-border attack on October 7 that resulted in about 1,160 deaths, most of them civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

Israel’s retaliatory bombardment and ground offensive has killed 31,184 Palestinians, mostly women and children, according to Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry.

Aid groups say only a fraction of the supplies required to meet basic humanitarian needs have been allowed into Gaza since October.

With help entering Gaza by truck far below pre-war levels, and Gazans increasingly desperate, foreign governments have turned to airdrops and are now trying to open a maritime aid corridor from Cyprus.

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