UN court to rule on Italian victims of Nazi crimes
The International Court of Justice will rule on February 3 on a German application demanding Rome stop its courts from hearing Italian compensation claims for Nazi war crimes.
"On Friday 3 February 2012, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, will deliver its judgment," a statement said Friday.
Germany has asked the Hague-based court to order Italy to stop civil courts from accepting claims for Third Reich war crimes, saying that by doing so Rome was "infringing on German sovereign immunity".
Berlin lodged its application before the ICJ in December 2008, saying Italy "failed to respect the jurisdictional immunity" that modern-day Germany enjoys under international law.
Occupying Third Reich troops committed war crimes after Italy switched sides to the Allies in September 1943, including in the case of Luigi Ferrini, who was deported to Germany as a forced labourer in August 1944.
Ferrini claimed compensation from Germany in 1998 and since an Italian Supreme Court decision in 2004 in his favour, hundreds of other claims by relatives and widows of victims of Nazi war crimes have been brought before Italian courts.
Germany warned at a an ICJ hearing last year that "the consequences would be severe" if civil courts in Italy were allowed to rule on compensation claims for Nazi war crimes.
[Source: Agence France Press, The Hague, 27Jan12]
Caso SS Totenkopf
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