© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: General picture of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, the Netherlands 23 January 2020. REUTERS / Eva Plevier / File photo
THE HAGUE (Reuters) – Germany has sued Italy in the Supreme Court over Rome’s continued to allow victims of Nazi war crimes to seek compensation from the German state, even following an earlier ruling that such claims were in breach of international law.
Germany’s application to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), published on the court’s website late Friday, says Italy continues to allow claims to be brought before national courts despite the ICJ’s 2012 ruling that it violated Berlin’s right to immunity under to international law.
Berlin says that since the 2012 verdict, more than 25 new claims have been filed in Italy against the German state for damages arising from Nazi crimes during World War II. In many of these cases, the courts have ordered Germany to pay compensation.
To meet the requirements of two such cases, Italian courts are trying to seize property in Rome owned by the German state.
Germany says it has brought the case before the ICJ now because an Italian court has said it will decide before May 25 whether to force the sale of the buildings, some of which house German cultural, archaeological, historical and educational institutions .
Berlin has asked the court to take so-called interim measures to ensure that Italy does not publicly auction off the property while the country’s broader case for damages is being considered. No date has yet been set for a preliminary hearing, but one is expected within the next few weeks.
It generally takes years for the ICJ, also known as the World Court, to make a final decision in cases.
The dispute over World War II compensation claims began in 2008, when Italy’s Supreme Court ruled that Germany should pay around 1 million euros to families of nine people who were among the 203 killed by the German army in Civitella, Tuscany in 1944.
A number of similar claims for damages followed.
Germany has claimed that it has already compensated for World War II injustices in extensive peace and compensation treaties with the countries concerned and paid billions of euros since the war ended with the defeat of the Nazi regime in 1945.