Dutch court bans export of F-35 fighter jet parts to Israel

World Monday 12/February/2024 16:13 PM
By: DW
Dutch court bans export of F-35 fighter jet parts to Israel

Amsterdam: The Dutch government must halt all exports of F-35 fighter jet parts to Israel due to concerns over the military offensive in Gaza, an appeals court ruled on Monday.

"It is undeniable that there is a clear risk that the exported F-35 parts are used in serious violations of international humanitarian law," Judge Bas Boele said in the ruling.

"Israel does not take sufficient account of the consequences for the civilian population when conducting its attacks," the court added.

Israel denies that it has committed war crimes in Gaza.

The Dutch government must now comply with the order "within seven days after service of this judgement," the Appeals Court in The Hague said.

The case was brought against the Dutch government last year by three human rights groups: Oxfam's Dutch affiliate, PAX and The Rights Forum.

The groups argued that authorities needed to reevaluate the export licence because the delivery of the fighter jet parts could make the Netherlands complicit in possible war crimes being committed by Israel in its war against the Islamist militant group Hamas.

The US-owned and made F-35 parts are stored in a warehouse in the Dutch town of Woensdrecht and then distributed to the US' fighter jet partners when requested.

Lawyers for the Dutch government said it was not clear whether authorities even had the power to intervene in the deliveries because they are a US-run operation.

They also argued that banning the shipment of F-35 parts from the Netherlands would effectively be meaningless as the US could deliver them from elsewhere.

A lower court initially ruled that it was likely that the F-35 fighter jets contributed to violations of the laws of war but stopped short of ordering a ban on exporting parts.

"The considerations that the minister makes are to a large extent of a political and policy nature and judges should leave the minister a large amount of freedom," the District Court said in December.

However, the appeals court on Monday said political and economic concerns did not override the risk of violations of the laws of war.