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Berlin Court May Rule against German Government on Supplying Weapons to Israel

The “Legal Tribune Online” German portal reported on May 10 that the administrative court of Berlin has accepted legal complaints from Gaza residents against the German government’s effort to supply weapons to Israel. While German law allows for such legal proceedings to be initiated by non-Germans, this action has nevertheless surprised observers because it runs against the recent pro-German ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

The Berlin court has written a letter asking the defendant, the Federal Republic of Germany, “to explain how the Federal government … intends to ensure that the granting of a license” for weapons of war to Israel “would not jeopardize any obligations of Germany under international law.” Specifically, the Administrative Court is requesting information on the considerations on which Germany’s Economics Ministry, which is responsible for export controls, bases its licensing of military weapons. The Economics Ministry representatives should address both the “development of Israel’s military operation in the Gaza Strip since January 2024” and the ICJ’s urgent decision of January 26 in the case of South Africa v. Israel. The German government must also include the ICJ decision in April 30 proceedings by Nicaragua. But unlike the Nicaraguan complaint, the plaintiffs in the suit by Gaza residents directly involves those affected by Israel’s use of military weapons.

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