ICJ rejects Italian reparations claim against Germany

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The International Court of Justice has rejected a bid by Italy to compel Germany to pay reparations to Italian victims of Third Reich abuses, the court announced Tuesday.

"The counter-claim presented by Italy ... is inadmissible as such and does not form part of the current proceedings," the court said in a decision made public.

Italy had filed a counter-claim last December to an application Germany lodged with the ICJ a year earlier in which it contested Italy's right to allow civil claims against the German republic for violations committed from September 1943 to May 1945.

Italy's highest appeal court ruled in September 2008 that Germany must pay damages to the families of victims of a Nazi massacre there.

Germany asked the court to declare that Italy had failed to respect Berlin's jurisdictional immunity and sovereignty.

But Italy asked the ICJ to declare that Germany was violating an obligation to pay reparations to Italian victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity perpetrated by the Third Reich.

It asked for an order that "Germany must cease its wrongful conduct and offer appropriate and effective reparation to these victims."

The judges, however, said Italy's claim did not fall under the court's jurisdiction.

The ICJ, the United Nations' highest court, started operating in The Hague in 1946.

© 2010 AFP

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