The Litigation Wars

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Nicaragua on Monday brought a case against Germany at the United Nations’ top court, accusing the European country of supporting genocide by supplying arms to Israel, expanding an international legal battle that has already seen three cases this year involving the conflict in the Middle East, the New York Times reported.

In its filing, Nicaragua argued that Germany, Israel’s second-largest arms supplier, violated the 1948 Genocide Convention by providing Israel with military and financial support, and demanded that the court impose emergency measures on Berlin to discontinue assistance to Israel.

Nicaragua’s ambassador to the Netherlands Carlos Argüello Gomez told the Hague-based International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the first day of hearings that Israel was violating the Geneva Convention, regardless of whether it may be found guilty of genocide, by depriving Palestinians of food, Al Jazeera reported. He argued that Germany had a duty to refrain from supporting Israel in those breaches.

Germany is a party to the Genocide Convention, which was drafted in the aftermath of the Holocaust. The country has argued its support for Israel was its historic duty due to the atrocities committed by the Nazi government against the Jewish people during World War II.

The German delegation called Nicaragua “biased” and rejected the accusations. They are expected to be heard on Tuesday.

Lawyers said that Germany was an easier target for Nicaragua than the United States, which is the world’s largest military supplier to Israel, because the US denies the ICJ’s jurisdiction without consent from Washington.

Meanwhile, peace talks continued between Israel and Hamas in Cairo, Egypt with the presence of CIA Director William Burns signaling US pressure to reach a ceasefire agreement that would see the return of Israeli hostages from Gaza and address the mounting humanitarian crisis in the enclave, Reuters explained.

Despite reports on Egyptian state media that negotiations were showing progress, a Hamas official told Reuters there was “nothing new” in the talks. Israel’s military presence in Gaza is a key point of contention: While Hamas demands a complete withdrawal from the enclave, Israel wants a deal that does not commit it to end the war.

Also on Monday, Israel killed a commander from Iran-backed Hezbollah in an airstrike on southern Lebanon, the Wall Street Journal reported. Israel’s foreign minister, Israel Katz, said his country was ready to escalate the conflict with Iran and Hezbollah should diplomacy fail.

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