Germany files suit against Italy in UN World Court on war reparations claims

24 December 2008

Germany has filed a complaint against Italy at the United Nations International Court of Justice (ICJ) over Italian judgments awarding damages to victims of Nazi war crimes on the grounds that it has already paid reparations under international treaties with Italy.

It also argues that as a sovereign state it has immunity in Italian courts, and that any Italian is therefore unenforceable. At the same time, it reiterated that Germany “fully acknowledges the untold suffering inflicted on Italian men and women” during World War ll.

“In recent years, Italian judicial bodies have repeatedly disregarded the jurisdictional immunity of Germany as a sovereign State,” the complaint filed with the ICJ in The Hague says, citing a ruling that Italy held jurisdiction on a claim by a person deported to Germany during the war to perform forced labour in the armaments industry.

After this ruling, numerous other proceedings were instituted before Italian courts by others who had suffered injury due to the war, and enforcement measures have already been taken against German assets in Italy, including a “judicial mortgage” on a German-Italian cultural centre, the complaint said.

It also cited “attempts by Greek nationals to enforce in Italy a judgment obtained in Greece on account of a . . . massacre committed by German military units during their withdrawal in 1944.”

Germany asked the ICJ to adjudge that Italy must ensure that all decisions of its courts and other judicial authorities infringing Germany’s sovereign immunity become unenforceable and that in the future Italian courts do not entertain legal actions against Germany founded on such occurrences.


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