19th March 2012
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) gave judgment on the claims of Germany v Italy on 3 February 2012, holding that Italy had violated its obligation to respect the jurisdictional immunity to which Germany was entitled under international law. The Italian courts had allowed civil claims to be brought against Germany based on violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) committed between 1943 and 1945, had granted measures of constraint against German state property and allowed enforcement in Italy of decisions of Greek courts against Germany, based on similar violations of IHL in Greece.
The law on State immunity has always been controversial, especially where human rights claims are involved.
The panel will analyse why the ICJ rejected Italy's arguments, whether it was right to do so, and the implications of this judgment for the development of the law of jurisdictional immunities and future litigation on civil claims against foreign states.
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