Saturday, May 25, 2024

Lawyers sue German government to stop arms exports to Israel amid Gaza war

A group of lawyers filed a lawsuit against the German government on Friday, demanding an immediate halt to the supply of weapons and ammunition to Israel amid the war in the Gaza Strip that has so far left more than 33,000 Palestinians.

Ahmed Abed, a lawyer representing Palestinian families, said they have filed an “urgent application” to the court amid ongoing Israeli war crimes and worrying signs of genocide in Gaza.

“Germany has a constitutional responsibility to protect human life. The German government must stop its arms exports to Israel, as they are in violation of international law. The government cannot claim that it is not aware of this,” he told a news conference in Berlin.

Despite growing public pressure, Berlin remains supportive of Israel’s military offensive in Gaza, arguing that the country bears special responsibility for Israel because of its Nazi history.

The German government approved €326.5 million ($354 million) worth of weapons exports to Israel in 2023, the majority of which were approved after Oct. 7, 2023, a tenfold increase compared to 2022.

The Lawyers’ Collective said Germany’s arms exports constitute a violation under international law, and are in breach of domestic law, particularly the War Weapons Control Act.

“The criteria for the approval of arms exports include, among other things, that the weapons are not used against Germany’s obligations of the international law, in this case that Israel does not violate human rights and international humanitarian law,” the lawyers announced in a statement.

“Since the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in its decision of January 26, 2024 already sees evidence of genocide in Gaza, the Lawyers’ Collective believes that the delivery of weapons is contrary to these obligations. The aim of the urgent motion is therefore to immediately stop future approvals of weapons deliveries to Israel, and to revoke approvals that have already been granted,” they added.

The legal initiative of Gazan families and German lawyers was supported by civil society organizations European Legal Support Center (ELSC), the Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy (PIPD) and Law for Palestine under the Justice and Accountability for Palestine Initiative.

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