Sheldon Kirshner

Nicaragua’s Flimsy Case Against Germany And Israel

The case brought against Germany and Israel by Nicaragua at the International Court of Justice in The Hague this week was nothing less than ludicrous.

Claiming that German arms sales to Israel have facilitated genocide during the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip, Nicaragua requested emergency measures ordering Germany to cease its military support of Israel.

The court is expected to issue a decision within a few weeks, but it would be utterly astonishing if it rules in favor of Nicaragua, a pro-Palestinian dictatorship aligned with Iran that has no respect whatsoever for the rule of law, much less human rights.

Responding to Nicaragua’s absurd allegations, German lawyers pointed out that most of its military exports to Israel were non-lethal, running the gamut from communications devices and protective gear to defence equipment against chemical hazards.

“The picture presented by Nicaragua is at best inaccurate, and at worst it is a deliberate misrepresentation of the actual situation,” said one of the German lawyers, Christian Tams.

Germany’s lead counsel, Tania von Uslar-Gleichen, argued that Nicaragua’s case rested on flimsy evidence.

They are both right.

First, the Israeli armed forces have not committed genocide under the terms of the United Nations’ Genocide Convention. This is an invention concocted by Israel’s enemies. Israel has targeted Hamas operatives and officials, not the Palestinian people themselves as an ethnic or religious group. That so many Palestinian civilians have been killed is a reflection of their use as human shields by Hamas.

Second, in line with the comments of Latin American affairs experts, Nicaragua’s case should be seen as a cynical move by the Sandinista regime to burnish its profile and distract attention away from its horrendous human rights record.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice-President Rosario Murillo Zambrana, have bended key government institutions, including the judiciary and the legislature, to suit their own needs and consolidate their grip on power.

Nicaraguans have taken to the streets to demand their ouster, only to be at the receiving end of police bullets. These protests have claimed the lives of hundreds of demonstrators, resulted in the arrest of hundreds of people, and compelled thousands of others to emigrate.

“The world is aware that the current government of Nicaragua lacks the moral and political authority to speak or advocate for human rights, much less on matters of genocide,” said Manuel Orozco, a specialist on Nicaragua at the Inter-American Dialogue, a research institute in Washington.

More recently, a report tabled by the British Parliament suggested that Nicaragua, one of the poorest countries in Latin America, should be hauled before the International Criminal Court for human rights violations.

Two months ago, a report released by the United Nations condemned Nicaragua for its egregious human rights record.

“Serious systematic human rights violations, tantamount to crimes against humanity, continue to be perpetrated by the Nicaraguan government for political reasons,” the Group of Human Rights Experts on Nicaragua concluded.

“President Ortega, Vice-President Murillo and high-level state officials identified in the investigation should be held accountable by the international community, as should Nicaragua as a state that goes after its own people, targeting university students, Indigenous people, people of African descent, campesinos, and members of the Catholic Church and other Christian denominations,” said Jan Simon, the chairman of the panel.

“Nicaragua is caught in a spiral of violence marked by the persecution of all forms of political opposition, whether real or perceived, both domestically and abroad,” he said. “In addition, the government has solidified a spiral of silence incapacitating any potential opposition.”

It should also be noted that the current Nicaraguan government is hostile to Israel and will resort to any pretext to defame it.

Under the pro-American government of Anastasio Somoza, Nicaragua recognized Israel in 1948, but its relationship with the Zionist movement started before that when Nicaragua assisted the Haganah in purchasing weapons in Europe.

Nicaragua suspended relations with Israel after its invasion of Lebanon in 1982, but resumed ties a decade later.

In the wake of the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010, during which Israeli commandos killed nine Turks aboard a Turkish vessel trying to break Israel’s naval siege of Gaza, Nicaragua severed relations with Israel, only to reestablish them in 2017.

Since then, the Israel-Nicaragua relationship has been fraught and tenuous at best, while Nicaragua has tightened its bonds with the Palestinians and Iran. Last year, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi visited Nicaragua, his second stop in a three-nation tour of “friendly countries” that included Venezuela and Cuba.

Nicaragua is patently biased against Israel, and its politically-inspired case against Germany rests on sand.

It should be summarily dismissed.

About the Author
Sheldon Kirshner is a journalist in Toronto. He writes at his online journal,
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