International Court of Justice
International Court of JusticeiStock

Germany on Tuesday hit back at accusations from Nicaragua at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that it has been “facilitating genocide” in Gaza through its support for Israel, insisting that Israeli security is at the "core" of German foreign policy, CNN reported.

Preliminary hearings opened on at the ICJ in a case brought by Nicaragua that seeks an end to German military and other aid to Israel, based on claims that Berlin is “facilitating” acts of genocide.

While the case brought by Nicaragua centers on Germany, it indirectly takes aim at Israel’s military campaign in Gaza following the deadly October 7 attacks.

Addressing the ICJ on Tuesday, Germany's lawyer Tania von Uslar-Gleichen stressed Germany “firmly rejects Nicaragua's accusations.”

“Germany has always been an advocate for the promotion and strengthening of international humanitarian law and humanitarian principles,” said von Uslar-Gleichen, who is the Legal Director for the German Foreign Office, as quoted by CNN.

Von Uslar-Gleichen nodded to the Nazi Holocaust against Jews during World War II in explaining to the ICJ that Israeli security is at the “core” of German foreign policy, adding, “Our history is the reason why Israel's security has been at the core of German foreign policy.”

A lawyer representing Germany, Samuel Wordsworth, argued Germany could not be found to be "facilitating genocide" because for that to be the case, the court would need to have already ruled that Israel has breached international law in Gaza. The ICJ has not issued a ruling on whether Israel has committed any breaches of international law in Gaza.

Nicaragua has asked the court to hand down preliminary orders known as provisional measures, including that Germany “immediately suspend its aid to Israel, in particular its military assistance including military equipment in so far as this aid may be used in the violation of the Genocide Convention” and international law.

The court will likely take weeks to deliver its preliminary decision and Nicaragua’s case will probably drag on for years.

The Nicaraguan case follows South Africa’s case against Israel at the ICJ, accusing the Jewish state of carrying out genocide in Gaza.

On January 26, the ICJ handed down a ruling in South Africa’s case, saying that Israel must do everything to prevent genocidal acts in Gaza and take "immediate" measures for aid provisions. It did not, however, order Israel to stop the war in Gaza.

After South Africa filed the case against Israel, Germany announced that it would intervene as a third party in the case and present its own case to the court that Israel has not committed genocide.

Nicaragua had previously filed an application with the ICJ to join South Africa in its case against Israel, saying it considers that the conduct of Israel is in "violation of its obligations under the Genocide Convention".