Rome

Hague Nazi ruling 'provokes impunity' says Cassation Court

But Italy respects decision to annul German compensations

Hague Nazi ruling 'provokes impunity' says Cassation Court

(ANSA) - Rome, August 10 - Italy's highest court on Friday said that while it did not agree with the International Court of Justice's (ICJ) decision to annul an earlier ruling by the Italian court which determined that Germany must compensate Italian victims of Nazi war crimes, it would respect the ICJ's decision. The Italian judges said an ICJ ruling in February that upheld Germany's immunity for Nazi war crimes "provokes nothing less than impunity" in countries accused of "crimes against humanity". However, the Italian judges said they recognized they were in the minority of Europeans who felt the same way. In February the court in The Hague ruled that Italy "failed to recognise the immunity" granted by international law for the Third Reich's crimes. It ordered Rome to annul compensation orders by Italy's courts for 12 Italians who were taken prisoner by Nazi forces and deported to Germany for slave labor after Benito Mussolini fell from power and Italy abandoned its former ally in September 1943. The Cassation Court in May decided to uphold the ruling, the first time the supreme court has done so with a ruling from The Hague on this issue. In November 2008 Italy and Germany agreed to set up a joint commission to probe legal claims linked to the Second World War, as well as the fate of thousands of Italian deportees. Then foreign minister Franco Frattini announced the decision at a commemoration service with then German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier at the former Risiera di San Sabba Nazi concentration camp near Trieste. Steinmeier, who was the first representative of the German government to visit the camp since the end of WWII, expressed "deep sympathy" over the "suffering" of Italian soldiers who were taken prisoner. "We owe them and their memory commemoration and explanation, not silence and dismissal," he said. A former rice mill, the Risiera di San Sabba camp was the only camp with a crematorium in Italy. More than 3,000 partisans and Jews are thought to have been killed there. photo: The Risiera di San Sabba

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