In Africa, Colonialism, Germany, Israel, Palestine

Namibia slams Germany for defending Israel in ICJ genocide case

South Africa told the court on Thursday that Israel’s aerial and ground offensive has laid waste to much of the enclave and killed almost 24,000 people [Getty]

originally published 14 January 2024 on the New Arab

 

Namibia has slammed Germany’s “shocking” move to support Israel in the genocide case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) brought by South Africa, as Israel’s war on Gaza entered its 100th day on Sunday.

The president of Namibia, a southern African country where the first genocide of the 20th century took place under German colonial rule, lamented “Germany’s inability to draw lessons from its horrific history”.

President Hage Geingob expressed “deep concern” for the German government’s decision of having “rejected the morally upright indictment brought forward by South Africa”.

Geingob accused Berlin of “ignoring” the “deaths of over 23,000 Palestinians in Gaza” and defending in front of the ICJ “the genocidal and gruesome acts of the Israeli Government”.

“Germany cannot morally express commitment to the United Nations Convention against genocide, including atonement for the genocide in Namibia, whilst supporting the equivalent of a holocaust and genocide in Gaza,” the statement said.

“President Geingob appeals to the German government to reconsider its untimely decision to intervene as a third party in defence and support of the genocidal acts of Israel before the ICJ,” it added.

“No peace-loving human being can ignore the carnage waged against Palestinians in Gaza.”

 

South Africa takes Israel to ICJ

South Africa launched an emergency case at the ICJ arguing that Israel stands in breach of the UN Genocide Convention and wants the court to immediately stop its military operations in Gaza which began on 7 October.

A two-day public hearing in the case at the World Court – the highest legal body of the United Nations – took place on Thursday and Friday during which South Africa and Israel presented their arguments.

South Africa told the court on Thursday that Israel’s aerial and ground offensive – which has laid waste to much of the enclave and killed almost 24,000 people, according to Gaza health authorities – aimed to bring about “the destruction of the population” of Gaza.

The 1948 Genocide Convention, enacted in the wake of the mass murder of Jews in the Nazi Holocaust in Germany, defines genocide as “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group”.

The German government on Friday “decisively and expressly” rejected South Africa’s accusations against Israel, calling it a “political instrumentalisation” of the UN Genocide Convention with “no basis in fact”.

Germany was responsible for the massacres of more than 70,000 Indigenous Herero and Nama people in Namibia between 1904 and 1908, which historians widely consider the first genocide of the 20th century.

In 2021, after more than five years of negotiations, Germany said it recognised it committed a “genocide” in the territory it colonised between 1884 and 1915 and pledged more than 1.1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) in development aid over 30 years to benefit the descendants of the two tribes.

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