Germany filed an application Friday to bring proceedings at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Italy for continuing to allow victims of Nazi war crimes to claim compensation from Germany even after an earlier ruling that such claims violate international law.
In its application, Germany stated:
Italian domestic courts have in the past disregarded the jurisdictional immunity of Germany as a sovereign State by allowing civil claims to be brought against Germany based on violations of international humanitarian law committed by the German Reich during World War II.
In its application, Germany referenced a 2012 ICJ decision that Italy could not allow civil claims to be brought against Germany based on past war crimes. The application cites repeated instances where Italy has violated this ruling, and asks the ICJ to compel Italy to take immediate action to assure that no more cases against Germany are heard in Italian courts. The application lists a series of desired actions, including “ensur[ing] that the existing decisions of its courts and those of other judicial authorities infringing Germany’s right to sovereign immunity cease to have effect”, “mak[ing] full reparation for any injury caused through violations of Germany’s right to sovereign immunity”, and “concrete and effective assurances and guarantees that violations of Germany’s sovereign immunity will not be repeated.”
In a press release following the filing of the application, the ICJ announced that prior rulings did determine that Germany had sovereign immunity and that Italian courts could not hear civil war crime cases. Additionally, the press release announces a request made to the ICJ by the German government to “…order Italy to ensure that German properties indicated in the Application ‘are not subjected to a public auction pending a judgment by the Court on the merits’ and that ‘no further measures of constraint are taken by [Italian] courts against German property’.”
It is not known when hearings will begin.