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Human rights groups sue Denmark over arms exports to Israel

by Marko Florentino
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The groups mentioned serious concerns that weapons and military equipment sent to Israel may be used in violation of international law in Gaza.


A group of the world’s most prominent human rights organisations is suing Danish authorities over the continued exports of arms to Israel even as more than 30,000 people, most of them civilians, have been killed in Gaza by the Israeli military.

The local branches of Oxfam, Amnesty, Action Aid and the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq have announced a lawsuit against the Danish National Police and the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Their action asks Danish authorities to stop Denmark’s arms exports to Israel on the grounds that there is “a clear risk that weapons and military equipment that Denmark, directly and indirectly, exports to Israel will be used to commit serious crimes against civilians in Gaza”.

According to the group, this would represents a violation of international rules on arms trade on behalf of Denmark, making the country complicit in “plausible genocide.”

The UN top court, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), concluded in January that it is plausible that Israel’s actions in Gaza could amount to genocide.

“Denmark must not supply weapons to bomb civilians,” Lars Koch, secretary general of Oxfam Denmark, said in a statement published on social media.

“With the trial, we will test whether Denmark respects international law and the value we profess,” he added. “We cannot ignore clear violations of humanitarian law, war crimes and the warning of a potential genocide.”

What the NGOs are seeking for is the court’s word on whether Denmark’s actions represent a violation of international law.

The country is bound by the UN Arms Trade Treaty and the EU Common Rules for Arms Exports to ensure that exports of arms and military equipment from Danish companies are not used in violation of international law.

”For five months we have been talking about a potential genocide in Gaza, but we have not seen politicians take action,” said Tim Whyte, Secretary General of Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke, one of the organisations behind the lawsuit.

“Denmark should not be sending weapons to Israel when there is a reasonable suspicion that it is committing war crimes in Gaza. “We need to get the court’s word on Denmark’s responsibility.”

In February, a Dutch court ordered the Netherlands to stop selling F-35 fighter jet parts to Israel over fears these might be used in violation of international law in Gaza.

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