Germany: Block compensation bid

Germany wants to block Italy’s demand for compensation in a recent war crimes case concluded in Rome.

Germany’s Foreign Ministry indicated it would seek a ruling from the International Court of Justice in The Hague, arguing that international law offers immunity to countries and to those serving in their military, accordign to der Spiegel magazine. The magazine reported that some diplomats worried about a potential flood of international lawsuits seeking recompense for damages due to "historical injustices" and that there would be no end to such suits.

Germany already rejected the Oct. 21 verdict of Italy’s High Court in Rome demanding payment of $1.3 million in personal damages to nine Italian families whose relatives were victims of a June 1944 Nazi massacre of 203 civilians in the northern Italian town of Civitella. The court sentenced Max Josef Milde, a German sergeant involved in the massacre, to life in prison, in absentia.

There reportedly are 51 similar cases awaiting trial in Italy alone.

The German Foreign Ministry said that financial compensation to Italy had been resolved through the 1961 Bonn treaty, under which the German government paid billions in compensation to Italy.

The Italian court has argued that the treaty only applied to the treatment of Italian Jews.
 

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