Rights groups sue Germany over arms exports to Israel

Lawsuit refers to government's decision to approve export of 3,000 anti-tank weapons to Israel

17:18 - 13/04/2024 Cumartesi
File photo
File photo

German and Palestinian human rights lawyers have filed a lawsuit at an administrative Berlin court, seeking to suspend export licenses issued by the German government for arms shipments to Israel, the Berlin-based European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) said Saturday.

The suit is on behalf of five Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip whose family members have been killed during Israeli rocket attacks, the EECHR said in a statement.

“A basic prerequisite for a rules-based and human rights-oriented German foreign policy is respect for the law in its own decision-making. Germany cannot remain true to its values if it exports weapons to a war where serious violations of international humanitarian law are apparent,” said ECCHR General Secretary Wolfgang Kaleck.

“In our lawsuit, we call on the court, as part of provisional measures, to suspend export licenses issued by the German government for arms shipments to Israel,” he added.

The lawsuit alleges there are grounds to believe Germany is not fulfilling and is violating its obligations under international law in accordance with the German weapons of war control act, Kriegswaffenkontrollgesetz.

The legal action alleges violations under the EU Common Position on Arms Exports Control, the Arms Trade Treaty, the Genocide Convention, the Geneva conventions and human rights law by issuing export licenses for weapons of war requested by Israel.

The suit says the weapons of war, for which Germany is granting licenses, are being used to kill and displace civilians, destroy civilian infrastructure in Gaza, as well as control and limit the transfer and distribution of humanitarian aid.

In 2023, Germany issued a license for the export to Israel of 3,000 anti-tank weapons, but a request regarding 10,000 rounds of 120mm precision ammunition for Israeli tanks is still pending.

A large number of other components, such as engines for tanks, have been licensed and exported as well, making Germany the second-biggest arms provider to Israel after the US.

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