Sunday, May 24, 2009
The International Court of Justice has fixed the briefing schedule in the case brought by Germany against Italy. Germany's initial memorial is due June 23, 2009 and Italy's counter-memorial is due December 23, 2009. (Each country received six months for their memorials.)
Germany instituted the ICJ case against Italy in December 2009 for failing to respect Germany's jurisdictional immunity as a sovereign state. In its application to the ICJ, Germany argued that Italian judicial bodies have repeatedly disregarded Germany's immunity as a sovereign state. Germany pointed specifically to the decision of the Corte di Cassazione of March 11, 2004 in the Ferrini case, where the court declared that Italy had jurisdiction over a claim brought by a persons who was deported to Germany during World War II to do forced labor in the armaments industry. After the 2004 judgment of the Corte di Cassazione, numerous other proceedings were brought against Germany in the Italian courts. The 2004 judgment was confirmed in later judgments issued in May and October of 2008.
Germany also complained that Italy was taking measures to enforce judgments against Germany, including a "judicial mortgage" on Villa Vigoni, the German-Italian Center for Cultural Exchange.
Germany also complained that the Italian courts were entertaining attempts by Greek nationals to enforce a Greek judgment against Germany for a massacre committed by German military units during their withdrawal in 1944.
Although Germany and Italy are both member states of the European Union, Germany claimed that the Court of Justice of the European Communities in Luxembourg has no jurisdiction over the case, which does not involve any of the jurisdictional clauses in the treaties on European integration. To establish jurisdiction before the International Court of Justice, Germany invoked Article 1 of the European Convention for the Peaceful Settlement of Disputes.
More history of the case can be found in ICJ Press Release No. 2008/44 of December 23, 2008, available by clicking here. Germany also requested preliminary measures for Italy to protect German diplomatic assets pursuant to general rules of international law.