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Gaza Victims Sue German Government For 'Aiding Genocide Against Palestinians'

23.02.2024 17:12

German Chancellor Scholz, Foreign Minister Baerbock stand accused of 'complicity in genocide' by supporting Israel’s Gaza assault, authorizing arms exports.


By Anadolu staff

BERLIN (AA) — Victims of months of Israeli attacks on Gaza are filing a criminal complaint against top German government officials for supporting Israel's war crimes and "genocide" against Palestinians.

"We're filing a criminal complaint against German government officials for the crime of aiding and abetting genocide against the Palestinian people in Gaza by providing Israel with weapons and issuing related export permissions," lawyers for the Gaza victims told a press conference in Berlin on Friday.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, Defense Minister Boris Pistorius, and Economy Minister Robert Habeck all stand accused of "complicity in the genocide in Gaza" by supporting Israel's military offensive, and authorizing the export of €326 million ($350 million) worth of weapons to Israel.

Nadija Samour, one of the lawyers who filed the criminal complaint with federal prosecutors in Karlsruhe, southwestern Germany, said: "Our governments in Europe have a legal obligation not to provide Israel any support in perpetrating the current genocide against the Palestinian people in Gaza. This has to stop and this is what we hope to achieve by going to court. This lawsuit sends a clear message to German officials: you cannot continue to remain accomplices of such crime without consequences. We want accountability."

Samour said German law requires a ground for initial suspicion to start investigations on a potential crime being committed.

"The International Court of Justice's interim ruling clearly showed that there is such ground for initial suspicion when it comes to the crime of genocide against the Palestinian people in Gaza," she stressed, referring to a Jan. 26 ruling ordering Israel's government to stop genocidal acts and take steps to ensure that civilians in Gaza get humanitarian assistance.

"Following that ruling, Germany, like other third states, has a clear obligation to prevent genocide and German state officials should use their leverage and employ all lawful means at their disposal to influence Israel to refrain from genocidal acts," Samour also said.

The legal initiative by German lawyers was supported by the European Legal Support Center (ELSC) civil society group, as well as the Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy (PIPD) and Law for Palestine under the Justice and Accountability for Palestine Initiative.

The German government remains one of the strongest supporters of Israel's military offensive, despite growing international outcry over the humanitarian disaster in Gaza.

Chancellor Scholz has repeatedly vowed to maintain Berlin's political and military support for Israel, as Germany bears special responsibility for Israel due to its Nazi past.

Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip since an Oct. 7 cross-border attack by the Palestinian group Hamas. The ensuing Israeli war has killed more than 29,500 people and caused mass destruction and shortages of necessities. Nearly 70,000 people have been injured.

Around 1,200 Israelis are believed to have been killed in the Hamas attack while over 200 were taken back to Gaza as hostages.

The Israeli war on Gaza has pushed 85% of the territory's population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water, and medicine, while 60% of the enclave's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN. -

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