Namibia has condemned its former colonial ruler Germany’s decision this week to reject accusations against Israel by South Africa of “genocide” at the International Court of Justice.
South Africa launched an emergency case at the ICJ arguing that Israel stands in breach of the UN Genocide Convention, signed in 1948 in the wake of the Holocaust, asking the court to “immediately” stop the IDF military operations in Gaza launched after the October 7 Hamas terror attacks that killed 1,200 people in Israel, mostly civilians.
Namibia, a southern African country where the first genocide of the 20th century took place under German colonial rule, “rejects Germany’s support of the genocidal intent of the racist Israeli state,” the presidency said in a statement late Saturday.
Lamenting “Germany’s inability to draw lessons from its horrific history,” Namibian President Hage Geingob expressed “deep concern” for the German government’s announcement Friday that it “rejected the morally upright indictment brought forward by South Africa.”
Geingob accused Berlin of “ignoring” the “deaths of over 23,000 Palestinians in Gaza” and defending in front of the ICJ “the genocidal and gruesome acts of the Israeli Government.”
The German government on Friday “decisively and expressly” rejected South Africa’s accusations against Israel, calling it a “political instrumentalization” of the UN Genocide Convention with “no basis in fact.”
At the court, Israel called the South African claims “baseless” and insisted that the widespread harm to Palestinian civilians during the war was a result of Hamas’s massive use of civilian infrastructure for military purposes and not genocidal acts.
The Hamas-run health ministry has said over 23,000 people have been killed in Gaza since the fighting started. These figures cannot be independently verified, and are believed to include both civilians and Hamas members killed in Gaza, including as a consequence of terror groups’ own rocket misfires. The IDF says it has killed over 8,500 operatives in Gaza, in addition to some 1,000 terrorists inside Israel on October 7.
Germany was responsible for the massacres of more than 70,000 Indigenous Herero and Nama people in Namibia between 1904 and 1908, which historians widely consider the first genocide of the 20th century.
“The German Government is yet to fully atone for the genocide it committed,” the Namibian presidency said Saturday.
In May 2021, after more than five years of negotiations, Germany said it recognized it committed a “genocide” in the territory it colonized between 1884 and 1915 and pledged more than 1.1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) in development aid over 30 years to benefit the descendants of the two tribes.