183- Certain questions of Jurisdictional Immunities and Enforcement of Judgments (Germany and Italy)

On April 29th, 2022, the Federal Republic of Germany filed an application instituting proceedings against the Republic of Italy before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for alleged violations of the principle of jurisdictional immunity and non-compliance with the decisions rendered.

This application is in direct line with the case 143-Jurisdictional Immunities of the State (Germany vs. Italy), in which the Court concluded that Italy had violated the principle of jurisdictional immunity enshrined in customary international law. The ICJ had also urged Italy to take all appropriate measures to enforce this right.

Germany contends that, despite the Court’s decision of February 3rd, 2012 (the 2012 decision), the Italian courts continued to receive and process more than 20 claims for compensation from the Italian victims of the attacks of the Third Reich during the Second World War, thus violating the principle of jurisdictional immunity. In a 2014 judgment, the Italian Constitutional Court recognised the need to comply with the 2012 decision but stressed that this obligation was subject to the “fundamental principle of judicial protection of fundamental rights” enshrined in Italian constitutional law which, according to it, allows victims of war crimes and crimes against humanity to submit individual claims against sovereign states. In order to be able to enforce some of its decisions and compensate the victims, the Italian justice had decided to put up for sale 4 properties belonging to Germany located on Italian soil.

The Republic of Germany accompanied its application initiating proceedings with a request for provisional measures in order to stay the sale of its assets and to preserve its rights. However, it withdrew its request for the indication of interim measures on May 10th, 2022.

This summary is provided for informational purposes only, does not involve the responsibility of Dome and should in no way be used as a substitute for a careful reading of the judgment and order of the case.