Germany is suing Italy at the United Nations International Court of Justice (IJC) for continuing to allow victims of German war crimes in World War II to seek redress in court.
The immediate reason for the move is that an Italian court may order the auctioning of Roman property operated by German companies until May 25 to raise evidence of compensation for Nazi war crimes. These include the headquarters of the Goethe Company in Italy, the German Archaeological Society (DAI) founded in Rome in 1829, and the German Historical Society (DHI) founded in Rome in 1888.
Germany has applied to the IJC for interim relief to prevent this.
The background to the case is the decision of the IJC in 2012, according to which Germany complied with its obligation to compensate for crimes committed in Italy during the Nazi regime, and therefore does not apply in favor of individuals in such cases against Germany.
However, in 2014, the Italian Constitutional Court ruled that the state immunization policy did not apply to war crimes or crimes against humanity, meaning that victims of the Nazi dictatorship or their relatives could sue Germany for damages, and the rules were unconstitutional except in such cases.
Meanwhile, about 25 cases have been brought before Italian courts.
In its compilation, the German national public television station ZDF reported that foreign victims of the Nazi regime had to wait a long time after World War II for a political agreement to settle compensation. The so-called first global agreements were concluded between 1959 and 1964 with the then West German European partners. The treaty with Italy was signed in 1961. Under a convention that came into force in 1963, victims in Italy would be awarded 40 million points if they died, their relatives, those who had been persecuted by the National Socialist Organization “for racial, religious or ideological reasons” and who “had suffered damage to their liberty or health”.
The ZDF program also points out that the armed forces of the German army (Vermast) and the Nazi Party (SS) “killed many in Italy during World War II”.