Greek Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas informed Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle by telephone yesterday evening that his Government was applying to join the proceedings between Germany and Italy currently underway at the International Court of Justice. The case, which has been pending since December 2008, concerns the question of whether Germany can invoke the principle of state immunity in defence against compensation claims by victims of the Second World War.
Federal Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle issued the following statement in Berlin today (13 January):
“I cannot understand why the Greek Government would make such a decision. We in Germany are well aware of our responsibility for our history. And we are also aware of the particular suffering of the Greek people during the Second World War.
But we emphatically reaffirm our position and we are confident that the Court will agree with our interpretation of the law.
Regarding claims against the Federal Republic of Germany, we expect that internationally recognized principles will be respected, particularly Germany’s state immunity. If this principle were undermined, the internationally community as a whole would face the threat of legal uncertainty.”