War reparations issue 'unresolved'

The government on Friday insisted that the issue of German World War II reparations to Greece remained unresolved despite the International Court of Justice in The Hague rebuffing a Greek reparation claim for atrocities committed by Nazi troops in the village of Distomo, central Greece.

“The issue of German reparations remains open,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. The Hague’s decision on Friday, the ministry said, does not prevent Greece from seeking reparations from Germany.

In November 2008, a court in Florence ruled that the families of the 218 men and women killed by Nazi troops in the village of Distomo should be awarded a villa in Menaggio, near Lake Como, which is owned by a German state nonprofit organization, by way of restitution.

Germany successfully appealed against the Italian ruling.

The 15-judge court said in its 12-3 ruling on Friday that the Italian case violated Germany’s longstanding immunity from being sued in national courts.

The ministry noted that the decision does not influence “the international responsibility and resulting obligation of a country to provide compensation where it is due.” The ruling also clarified that such issues could be resolved at the bilateral level, the ministry added. “In this way the court confirmed that these issues have not been resolved,” the ministry said, adding that the government would study the decision carefully.

A spokesman for conservative New Democracy, Yiannis Michelakis, was more outspoken in his assessment of the ruling, which, he said, “does not affect the issue of war reparations,” adding however that “it is not aligned with European values nor with the sense of justice of the Greek people and the people of Europe in general.”

Earlier this week a group of 28 MPs from ND, socialist PASOK and the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) called for the issue of war reparations to be debated in Parliament.

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