UN Court Rejects Italian Nazi Compensation Claims

UN Court Rejects Italian Nazi Compensation Claims

By SONJA DECHIAN | Published: FEBRUARY 7, 2012

The United Nations’ highest court has confirmed Germany’s immunity from being sued in Italian courts for war crimes by victims of Nazi atrocities.

On Friday, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled Italy had violated Germany’s sovereignty when it allowed its courts to handle civil restitution claims relating to Nazi war crimes. In 2008 Italy’s Supreme Court allowed Italian national Luigi Ferrini to sue for reparations for his deportation to Germany in 1944, where he worked as a slave labourer for the Nazis.

German officials argued if the lawsuit were upheld, many more reparation suits would follow. The German government signed a reparations treaty with Italy in 1961, which required restitution of 40 million D-Mark (20 million euro) for Italians who were subjected to ‘National Socialist persecution due to race, religion and worldview.’

The 15-judge court said in a 12-3 ruling that the Italian case violated Germany’s rights under international law. The ICJ is the UN’s highest legal body, and its rulings are binding.

Amnesty International called the decision ‘a setback for human rights.’ This piece in The Spielgel explores the ruling’s consequences in more detail.


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