Germany has filed a lawsuit against Italy in the United Nations’ highest court in a long-running dispute over World War II reparations.
The International Court of Justice announced the filing on Friday evening.
The German case harkens back to an earlier ruling by the UN tribunal in 2012, in which it upheld that Germany enjoys legal immunity from prosecution in foreign courts by victims of Nazi atrocities.
The ruling said Italy’s Supreme Court violated Germany’s sovereignty in 2008 by ruling that an Italian civilian was entitled to reparations for his deportation to Germany in 1944 to work as a slave.
In its new case, Germany argues that despite this ruling, “Italian domestic courts, since 2012, have considered a significant number of new claims against Germany in violation of Germany’s sovereign immunity .
In the case it won in 2012, Berlin argued that the Italian Supreme Court ruling cast doubt on a restitution system put in place after the defeat of the Nazis that saw Germany pay dozens of billion repairs since the 1950s.
Germany’s new case asks judges at The Hague tribunal to declare that Italy has violated and continues to violate its obligation to respect Germany’s sovereign immunity by allowing civil proceedings to be brought against the Germany “linked to Nazi war crimes and planning to auction off four German-owned properties in Rome.
The case also seeks urgent court orders called interim measures, including an order to ensure German properties are not subject to public auction” or other restraining orders pending final court judgment. in the case, which will probably take years to reach.
No date has been set immediately for the hearings. Judgments of the International Court of Justice are final and legally binding.
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