Germany has launched a challenge against Italy at the United Nations’ top court because Rome continues to enable victims of Nazi war crimes to seek compensation from the German state, despite an earlier finding that such claims breached international law.
Germany’s application to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which was published late on Friday on the court’s website, claims that Italy continues to allow compensation claims to be brought in domestic courts, despite the ICJ’s 2012 ruling that this violated Berlin’s right to immunity under international law.
According to Berlin, more than 25 additional compensation claims have been made in Italy against the German state for damages deriving from Nazi atrocities committed during World War II since the 2012 verdict. Courts have forced Germany to pay compensation in several of these situations.
Italian courts are attempting to confiscate properties in Rome owned by the German state in order to settle claims in two such instances.
Germany claims it has launched the lawsuit with the ICJ now because an Italian court has stated that it would determine whether to compel the sale of the buildings, some of which contain German cultural, archaeological, historical, and educational organisations, by May 25.
Berlin has requested the court to implement so-called interim measures to prevent Italy from auctioning off the property publicly while its larger case over compensation claims is being heard. A date for a provisional measures hearing has not yet been established, although one is likely within the next several weeks.
It usually takes years for the International Court of Justice, often known as the World Court, to make a final ruling in a case.
The controversy over World War II compensation claims began in 2008, when Italy’s highest court declared that Germany should pay around 1 million euros to the relatives of nine victims murdered by the German troops in Civitella, Tuscany, in 1944.
Following then, a slew of identical compensation claims were filed.
Germany has claimed that it has already paid for World War II injustices through massive peace and reparations accords with affected nations, paying out billions of euros since the war ended with the collapse of the Nazi dictatorship in 1945.