THE HAGUE: A group of human rights organisations took the Dutch government to court on Monday, arguing its supply of parts for F-35 fighters contributes to violations of international law in Gaza.
The case concerns US-owned F-35 parts stored at a warehouse in the Netherlands and then shipped to several partners, including Israel, via existing export agreements.
Oxfam Novib, one of the groups filing suit, said the export "made the Netherlands complicit in violations of the laws of war and the collective punishment of the civilian population of Gaza".
The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza says more than 15,500 people have been killed since October 7 in the war there, more than half of them women and children.
Israel has vowed to crush Hamas in retaliation for the militant group's October 7 attacks, which killed around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, according to Israeli authorities.
"By supplying weapons parts, the Netherlands runs the risk of becoming complicit in violations of international humanitarian law," said Dagmar Oudshoorn, director of Amnesty International.
International law experts have told AFP that human rights violations are likely being carried out by both parties to the conflict.
"It is almost unbelievable that these bombs are dropped thanks to Dutch military support. This has to stop," added Michiel Servaes, director of Oxfam Novib.
Dutch authorities said last month it was not clear whether it even had the power to intervene in the deliveries, part of a US-run operation that supplies parts to all F-35 partners.
"On the basis of current information on the deployment of Israeli F-35, it cannot be established that the F-35 are involved in serious violations of humanitarian law of war," the government said in a letter to parliament.
But Liesbeth Zegveld, human rights lawyer for the plaintiffs told reporters: "It is clear that these planes are used above Gaza to conduct aerial bombardments and assist ground troops in Gaza as we speak."
A verdict in the case is expected in roughly two weeks.