cc. On 12 January 2024, the German Federal Government published the following press release1:
“On 7 October 2023, Hamas terrorists brutally attacked, tortured, killed and kidnapped innocent people in Israel. Hamas’ goal is to wipe out Israel. Since then, Israel has been defending itself against the inhumane attack by Hamas.
In light of Germany’s history and the crime of humanity – the Shoah, the Federal Government sees itself as particularly committed to the Convention against Genocide. This Convention is a central instrument of international law to implement ‘Never Again’. We firmly oppose a political instrumentalization [of the Convention].
We know that different countries assess Israel’s operation in Gaza differently. However, the Federal Government firmly and expressly rejects the accusation of genocide that has now been levelled against Israel at the International Court of Justice. This accusation has no basis whatsoever.
The Federal Government supports the International Court of Justice in its work, as it has done for many decades. The Federal Government intends to intervene as a third party in the hearing on the merits. (emphasis cc)
In response, the President of Namibia, Hage Geingob, issued the following statement.2 Namibia was the German colony of South West Africa until the end of the First World War.
“Namibia rejects Germany’s Support of the Genocidal Intent of the Racist Israeli State against Innocent Civilians in Gaza. On Namibian soil, Germany committed the first genocide of the 20th century in 1904–1908, in which tens of thousands of innocent Namibians died in the most inhumane and brutal conditions. The German Government is yet to fully atone for the genocide it committed on Namibian soil. Therefore, in light of Germany’s inability to draw lessons from its horrific history, President Hage Geingob expresses deep concern with the shocking decision communicated by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany yesterday, 12 January 2024, in which it rejected the morally upright indictment brought forward by South Africa before the International Court of Justice that Israel is committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza. Worryingly, ignoring the violent deaths of over 23 000 Palestinians in Gaza and various United Nations reports disturbingly highlighting the internal displacement of 85% of civilians in Gaza amid acute shortages of food and essential services, the German Government has chosen to defend in the International Court of Justice the genocidal and gruesome acts of the Israeli Government against innocent civilians in Gaza and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. 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. Various international organizations, such as Human Rights Watch have chillingly concluded that Israel is committing war crimes in Gaza. President Geingob reiterates his call made on 31 December 2023, ‘No peace-loving human being can ignore the carnage waged against Palestinians in Gaza’. In that vein, 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 International Court of Justice.” •
1 https://www.bundesregierung.de/breg-de/aktuelles/erklaerung-der-bundesregierung-zur-verhandlung-am-internationalen-gerichtshof-2252842 (translated by Stefan Talmon, GPIL, uni-bonn.de)
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