Legal action irks Germany

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle yesterday appeared frustrated with the Greek government’s decision to support relatives of victims of a World War II massacre in their claim for compensation from Germany at a trial taking place at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. «I have simply no understanding of the decision of the Greek government,» he said in a statement. «In Germany, we know our responsibility for our history. And we also know about the particular suffering of the Greek people in World War II.» Westerwelle said Berlin was confident the ICJ would rule in its favor. «In terms of lawsuits against Germany, we expect internationally recognized principles of law and particularly Germany’s immunity as a state to be respected,» he said. «If this principle is undermined, the community of nations could face legal insecurity.» Greek and Italian courts have ruled in favor of the families of the 218 Greeks killed by Nazi troops in Distomo in June 1944 but Berlin has appealed this decision at the ICJ.