Germany sues to stop Italian damage claims

Dec. 24, 2008 at 9:02 PM
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THE HAGUE, Netherlands, Dec. 24 (UPI) -- Germany has filed a lawsuit with the main U.N. judicial body in an attempt to block Italian courts from seeking compensation for Nazi war crimes.

The German lawsuit against Italy at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, challenges an Italian high appeals court ruling that ordered Germany to pay about $1.4 million each to the families of nine people killed by the Nazi army during a 1944 massacre in Civitella, Italy, that claimed 203 lives, Deutsche Welle reported Wednesday.

"In recent years, Italian judicial bodies have repeatedly disregarded the jurisdictional immunity of Germany as a sovereign state," lawyers for Germany said in the suit.

Germany said allowing the Italian court's ruling to stand could open the floodgates of private citizens seeking compensation for Nazi war crimes.

A lawyer for Germany had argued before the Italian court that financial compensation claims were closed by a 1961 treaty between the two countries that involved a payment of 40 million German marks from Germany to Italy.

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