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05 January 2024

Summary Proceedings About the Delivery from the Netherlands of Parts for F-35 Fighter Planes to Israel (Part II)

Otto Spijkers (Amsterdam and Leiden University College) | Opinio Juris

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This legal opinion discusses the Netherlands’s obligations under international law to refrain from supplying weapons parts to Israel, regardless of other interests, in the context of the civil suit against the State of the Netherlands for the transfer of F-35 parts to Israel. The article highlights that the Netherlands’s obligation to prevent breaches of the Geneva Conventions and relevant human rights treaties is an an obligation of jus cogens. As such, other international obligations, under the Arms Trade Treaty or arms trade agreements for example, must be interpreted in a way that does not conflict with these peremptory obligations. If that is not possible, priority must be given to these peremptory obligations. Therefore, the Arms Trade Treaty cannot be interpreted in a way that allows the Netherlands to refrain from reviewing the weapon export licence even if there is a serious risk that the weapons parts will be used in the commission of serious breaches of the human right to life or war crimes.

See part I here.