Germany argued at the United Nations’ highest court Monday that Italian courts have no jurisdiction to order and/or to pay compensation to Nazi war victims, claiming that international law and peace treaties would be jeopardized if national courts had the power to override them. A top German legal advisor said that granting national courts jurisdiction over other nations would prompt would-be plaintiffs to “shop around for the most favorable national courts” and would lead to “legal disorder.
On its part, Italy has said that violations of humanitarian law
supersede other laws and international accords and insists that no
immunity can be accorded to crimes against humanity.
By Italy’s side is Greece, whose citizens have similar claims against Germany. The Greek case will be given a hearing and involves residents of the Greek village of Distomo, where Nazi troops killed 214 civilians on June 10, 1944 – one of the worst atrocities in occupied Greece.
In its own defense, Germany said the court must focus on the implications of its ruling rather than on the individuals.
Germany’s director-general of legal affairs was quoted by reporters as saying that if the Italian decision stands then the consequences would be severe, The postwar system for reparations would be put in question and thus open to challenges before domestic courts.
Not much of an argument if you ask me….
According to veteran Greek politician Manolis Glezos, who is head the organisation seeking payment of the German reparations to Greece, Germany has a financial and moral obligation toward Greece and the total sum due, if one added unpaid war reparations, a loan that Greece was forced to make to Axis forces during its occupation and the damage to the Greek economy during that period, is as high as 1.5 trillion euro.
The Distomo group’s lawyers Martin Klinger and Gabriele Heinecke stressed that Germany had an obligation to withdraw its appeal at the International Court of Justice against an Italian court ruling awarding compensation to relatives of the victims of the Distomo Massacre.