Sunday March 29, 2015 Search
Weather | Athens
14o C
09o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
ICJ in The Hague may declare itself incompetent over war reparations issue, expert warns

The International Court of Justice in The Hague.

By Sofia Papaioannou

Even if Greece decided to sue Germany at the International Court of Justice in The Hague over the question of war reparations and the forced occupation loan, there is still a strong chance that the tribunal would declare itself incompetent to rule on the case, says lawyer Stelios Perakis, professor of international and European institutions at Panteion University in Athens.

Germany has said it does not accept the court’s jurisdiction over issues that concern World War II, explains Perakis, who is authorized by the Greek state to represent Greece on the case of Distomo, a small town where more than 200 people were killed by German troops in reprisal for guerrilla attacks. This means that even if Greece went to go to court unilaterally, the judges might declare themselves incompetent.

In November 2008, a court in Florence, Italy, ruled that the families of the 218 men and women killed by Nazi troops in the village of Distomo should be awarded a villa in Menaggio, near Lake Como, which is owned by a German state nonprofit organization, by way of restitution. However, Germany took Italy to the Hague court over the case in 2012, claiming that Italian courts had failed to respect the sovereign immunity of Germany in cases brought in Italian courts dealing with human rights violations by Germany during World War II.

The descendents of Distomo victims had previously been awarded a favorable ruling by the Livadia First Instance Court and the Supreme Court in Athens. For the decision – which stipulated the confiscation of German state-owned property in Greece such as the Goethe Institute or the German School of Athens – to be implemented though, it required a Justice Ministry decree. However ministers were bound by a Special Supreme Court ruling on the claims for compensation for acts committed by German forces in the Greek village of Lidoriki in 1944, which found that Germany was entitled to jurisdictional immunity.

When the late lawyer Yiannis Stamoulis, a former Greek member of the European Parliament, used a European Council ruling to enforce the decision of the Greek courts in Italy, Germany resorted to the International Court of Justice against Italy, arguing that the country had no legal right to launch a procedure to confiscate German properties for the case.
And when a Distomo resident took the case to a German court in 2003, judges threw out the case for lack of legislation.
Given the legal obstacles, many argue that Greece must concentrate its efforts on the forced occupation law where it has tangible legal advantages.

As Kathimerini has reported in the past, Greece has documents which prove that the Germans were paying back the loan in installments up to a week before they left the country – a fact which shows they acknowledged its existence.
After the fall of Hitler, the Bank of Greece and the German central bank recorded the amounts of money that Germany and Italy forced Greece to pay for every month of the occupation.

Also important is a note verbale by the German Embassy in Athens on March 31, 1967, which, referring to the granting of 115 million DM to Greece in 1960 – all of which went toward individual compensations – states that “the federal government never assumed that the Greek government intended to formally give up its legally grounded claims dating to the time of the occupation in WWII.”

However, seven decades on, during which Greece has launched no systematic legal effort or campaign to influence public opinion, it all seems to boil down to what an old French diplomat said: “In diplomacy, it is not enough to have a just cause. You also need to have an attractive one.”

Also read:

Greek tip-toeing on WWII reparations claims

Ex-minister: forced loan worth 13 bln euros in present values
 

ekathimerini.com , Monday April 29, 2013 (17:58)  
Moscow expects progress from Tsipras visit
Another suspect eyed in prison breakout plan
Eurogroup unlikely to be held soon to discuss Greek reforms
Disabled convicts to be freed early
Fitch downgrades Greece amid bailout uncertainty
Ratings agency Fitch has downgraded Greeces sovereign rating amid growing uncertainty over the new government's pledge to overhaul reforms needed to restart bailout loan payments and avoid d...
Bank accounts continue to bleed
Pressures on Greek bank deposits have continued in March, with sector officials estimating that households and enterprises have withdrawn a net 3 billion euros in the first weeks of this mon...
Inside Business
BASKETBALL
Greens live dangerously in Istanbul
Panathinaikos played with fire in Istanbul, but still managed to beat Galatasaray 86-84 on Friday and climb to the third sport of its group two games before the end of the Euroleague top-16....
SOCCER
Greek federation backs injured Holebas
The Greek soccer federation on Friday insisted that international defender Jose Holebas had been dropped from team training in Austria because of injury and not for any other reason. Media r...
Inside Sports
COMMENTARY
Lets change the subject
Lets talk about the weather. The cloudy skies, the rain, storms and humidity, the overall heavy atmosphere. Its better to think of that than politics and politicians, whatever cuts they ma...
EDITORIAL
Too little, too late?
Many of the measures that are rumored to comprise part of the list that the Greek government is expected to submit to the European Commission, European Central Bank and the International Mon...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
RECENT NEWS
1. Moscow expects progress from Tsipras visit
2. Another suspect eyed in prison breakout plan
3. Eurogroup unlikely to be held soon to discuss Greek reforms
4. Disabled convicts to be freed early
5. Greek energy minister starts two-day visit to Russia on Monday
6. Opposition tells Tsipras to get control of his party
more news
Today
This Week
1. Eurogroup unlikely to be held soon to discuss Greek reforms
2. Moscow expects progress from Tsipras visit
3. Another suspect eyed in prison breakout plan
4. Fitch downgrades Greece amid bailout uncertainty
5. Opposition tells Tsipras to get control of his party
6. Let's change the subject
Today
This Week
1. Next Monday is D-Day for state funds
2. PM faces Merkel amid race to detail reforms
3. Some more equal than others
4. Greece to present reforms by Monday, says gov't spokesman [Update]
5. Looking at the Chinese model
6. Greece optimistic on deal with euro area next week
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2015, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.