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Italy and Germany go to UN Court over Nazi reparations

The Local · 10 Sep 2011, 10:54

Published: 10 Sep 2011 10:54 GMT+02:00

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From Monday, the two countries' lawyers will argue their cases before judges of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), where Germany applied in 2008 to stop Italy from allowing civil claims for Nazi war crimes.

Germany will put its case forward on Monday, Italy will follow on Tuesday, then on Wednesday, Greece, a "non-party" state in the case, will state its position.

A second round of arguments will follow Thursday and Friday before judges retire to make a decision.

Germany has argued that by permitting claims for abuses, committed between September 1943 and May 1945, Italy "failed to respect the jurisdictional immunity" that modern-day Germany enjoyed under international law.

Germany has urged the ICJ to order Italy to live up to its international responsibility and take steps to ensure decisions by Italian courts "infringing on German sovereign immunity" cannot be enforced.

"To date, approximately 250 plaintiffs have brought civil actions against Germany, pending in 24 district courts and two appeals courts," Berlin said in its application.

Also before the Hague-based court is Greece, because relatives of victims of a 1944 massacre at Distomo, Greece, which claimed 218 lives, turned to the Italian courts after their case stalled in Athens.

In 1997 a Greek court ordered Germany to pay €28.6 million ($37 million) to the Distomo plaintiffs, but opposition from Berlin and reluctance from Greek justice ministers meant the ruling was never enforced.

An Italian court, however, enforced the original ruling and slapped a financial charge on two buildings owned by the German state.

Germany has always refused to pay, saying the issue of compensation was settled by a bilateral agreement with Greece dating from 1960.

Story continues below…

Established in 1945, the ICJ is the UN's highest judicial organ and settles disputes between states. It is the only one of the six main UN bodies not located in New York.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

20:07 September 10, 2011 by nepo77
Italy was part of the axis. Are they trying to play the victim now?
23:22 September 10, 2011 by Wyatt
It's time to call it quits with Germany being asked to pay reparations or any other type of compensation for a war past.
00:30 September 11, 2011 by prolgazinternet
Maybe Italians and other Europeans should file lawsuits for damages done by Attila König der Hunnen (Attila the Hun)?
12:51 September 11, 2011 by Englishted
What have the Romans(Italians) ever done for us ?.
01:36 September 13, 2011 by janreg58
Isn't there a stature of limitations? Or whatever the heck it's called?!! Come on Italy and Greece, don't the Germans give enough to you every year they holiday in your stinky countries! Maybe Germany should turn the tables and sue Italy for all the cruelties done to them by the Romans!! The walls still stand in many cities and towns!! Suck up your mistakes Italy and Greece, it's time to cut the apron strings!!!
08:32 September 15, 2011 by Englishted

Hold on "stinky countries!" whats that all about?

Nice countries with friendly people , good food and wine.
14:57 September 20, 2011 by bearded1
As a Brit living in Germany today with children and a wife far to young to have been any part of the second world war,why should we have to pay anything to the Italians for things the older generation did.WHEN DOES THIS STOP evryone trying to get rich quick the American way by Suing the pants off someone else.

MAYBE I will sue the ITALIANS i am sure they must have done some bad things to my forefathers when they INVADED BRITAIN wonder what excuse they use to get out of that one. I think it might have something to do with the fact that Dr Oetker makes the favourite PIZZA in the WORLD..
03:00 December 10, 2011 by vharry
Did they said anything about when they gona return the the forced occupation loan their grandfathers stole from greece?

they have done 2 payments and then stoped you just cant trust a german can you?

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