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Germany says it ‘respects the independence’ of International Criminal Court

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ATHENS 

Germany said Monday that it “respects the independence and procedures” of the International Criminal Court (ICC) while noting that it has some concerns.

Highlighting that the pre-trial chamber of the ICC now has to decide on the chief prosecutor’s applications for the issuance of arrest warrants, the German Foreign Ministry said “the court will have to answer a number of difficult questions, including the question of its jurisdiction and the complementarity of investigations between constitutional states affected, such as Israel.”

“The simultaneous application for arrest warrants against Hamas leaders on the one hand and two Israeli officials (Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant) on the other has created the incorrect impression of equivalency,” it added.

Germany remains one of the strongest supporters of Israel’s military offensive in Gaza despite growing public pressure. Chancellor Olaf Scholz has repeatedly said that Germany bears special responsibility for Israel because of its Nazi history.

Berlin has been accused of being complicit in genocide by many prominent figures, including politicians and academics as well as rights groups.

In March, Nicaragua filed a case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Germany, accusing it of facilitating genocide against Palestinians in Gaza by providing political and military support to Israel. It asked the court to impose emergency measures to order Germany to stop providing Israel with arms and other assistance and to resume its funding of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA).

In April, the ICJ rejected the case, though it expressed concern over the “catastrophic living conditions in Gaza.”

On Monday, ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan said he has reasonable grounds to believe that Netanyahu and Gallant bear criminal responsibility for “war crimes and crimes against humanity” committed on Palestinian territories, specifically in the Gaza Strip, from at least Oct. 8 last year.

Khan added that they have also applied for arrest warrants for three Hamas leaders — Ismail Haniyeh, Yahya Sinwar and Mohammed Deif — for “war crimes and crimes against humanity” committed in Israel and the Gaza Strip “from at least 7 October 2023.”

In February, Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, sought but failed to sack one of its members, Ofer Cassif, for supporting South Africa’s genocide lawsuit against Israel at the ICJ.

Israel has continued its brutal offensive on the Gaza Strip despite a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire in the enclave.

More than 35,500 Palestinians have since been killed, the vast majority of whom have been women and children, and over 79,600 others injured since last October following a cross-border attack by the Palestinian group Hamas.

More than seven months into the Israeli war, vast swathes of Gaza lay in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the ICJ, which has ordered it to ensure that its forces do not commit acts of genocide and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.



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