Current Developments

Justice for the Rohingya: three roads to accountability

The past week (11-15 November 2019) has seen Myanmar facing an arsenal of legal challenges for alleged international crimes before the International Criminal Court (ICC), International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the federal court in Argentina. After decades of documented (gross) human rights violations against the Rohingya, efforts to secure accountability has gained momentum following multiple allegations of crimes against humanity and genocide by various United Nations (UN) investigative efforts, …

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Colonial railway tracks near Aus in southern Namibia ECCHR
Colonial Repercussions in Germany and NamibiaSymposium

From ideological fixity to moral argument

Today, international law – and international human rights law in particular – provides the dominant frame, often augmented by negotiations, for responding to acts of genocide. While this frame is necessary, it may not be sufficient to address the deeper emotional and psychological scars associated with the 1904–1908 genocide in erstwhile German South West Africa. This is because the colonial project’s ideological fixity deeply implicates aspects of international law. Moreover, …

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Colonial railway tracks near Aus in southern Namibia ECCHR
Colonial Repercussions in Germany and NamibiaSymposium

The genocide against the Ovaherero and Nama peoples

The German colonization of what became German South West Africa commenced in 1884 and ended with German forces’ surrender to the Union of South Africa in July 1915. The genocidal atrocities committed by German colonial troops from 1904–1908, sanctioned by General Lothar von Trotha’s 1904 and 1905 orders to exterminate the Ovaherero and Nama, significantly changed the course of history and socio-economic status of the people who lived in Namibia …

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Colonial railway tracks near Aus in southern Namibia ECCHR
Colonial Repercussions in Germany and NamibiaSymposium

Historical originis of the Ovaherero and Nama Genocide

One cannot discuss the issue of the Ovaherero and Nama genocide without referring to the causes that gave rise to it. Although Eurocentric historiographers have written most of the history of our genocide, which therefore includes undue biases, people who follow the dictates of their conscience have also written records that are more objective. The first contact between Germans and the Ovaherero and Nama occurred through missionaries, followed by many …

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Current Developments

Strafverfolgung ohne Jurisdiktion?

Das Legitimitätsdilemma des IStGH angesichts der Rohingya-Ermittlungen

Die Chef-Anklägerin des Internationalen Strafgerichtshofs (IStGH) sorgte mit ihrem neusten Antrag vergangene Woche für einigen Wirbel. Am letzten Donnerstag ersuchte Fatou Bensouda die Vorverfahrenskammer um Erlaubnis, mit ihren Ermittlungen um die Geschehnisse in Bangladesch/Myanmar im Jahr 2017 fortfahren zu dürfen. Damit befindet sich der Fall nun in jener Phase, an der die gerichtliche Aufarbeitung der Situation in Afghanistan im April scheiterte, nachdem sich der IStGH in seinem wegweisenden Beschluss gegen die …

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Current Developments

Setback for the descendants of the Nama and Ovaherero indigenous peoples

A New York Court declines jurisdiction in Rukoro et al. v. Germany

Almost two years after members and descendants of the Nama and Ovaherero indigenous peoples filed a class action complaint against the Federal Republic of Germany in a United States District Court, the New York Court dealing with the case dismissed the complaint on March 6, 2019 for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The plaintiffs have filed a notice of appeal to the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on March …

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BofaxeCurrent Developments

Responsibility to punish

Zur Verantwortung Deutschlands für deutsche IS-Kämpfer

Über 1000 deutsche Staatsangehörige haben sich dem sogenannten Islamischen Staat (IS) angeschlossen, davon befinden sich mittlerweile gut 40 im syrischen Kurdengebiet in Gefangenschaft. Einige von ihnen werden verdächtigt, sich wegen Völkermord, Verbrechen gegen die Menschlichkeit und Kriegsverbrechen strafbar gemacht zu haben. Schon im Koalitionsvertrag vereinbarten SPD, CDU und CSU zu regeln, dass „Deutsche, die eine weitere Staatsangehörigkeit besitzen, die deutsche Staatsangehörigkeit verlieren können, wenn ihnen die konkrete Beteiligung an Kampfhandlungen …

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Current Developments

The first genocide of the 20th century before a domestic court

A New York Court about to decide on its jurisdiction in Rukoro et al. v. Germany

Once more, Germany is confronted with compensation claims concerning wrongs committed in the past (see on this topic already the post by Andreas Buser). After unsuccessful previous cases against Germany by the Ovaherero and Nama people before the Permanent Court of Arbitration and U.S. federal courts in Washington, D.C., the pending class action complaint against the Federal Republic of Germany in the United States District Court Southern District of New York is the …

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Current Developments

German Genocide in Namibia before U.S. Courts

Ovaherero and Nama sue Germany over Colonial Injustices – Again

Since October 2016, the German Historical Museum has been dealing with the past and presence of German colonialism in a special exhibition (see here) – for the first time ever. But German colonialism is not only a dusty artefact exposed in some German museum. Instead, it continues to haunt the German State in the form of claims for reparations by the descendants of the victims of colonial injustices. While German …

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DiscussionResponse

Yes, redressing past wrongs in the present!

A rejoinder to Maximilian Pichl and Mieke van der Linden I fully support Mieke van der Linden’s thesis that the illegal nature of the colonization in Africa, and indeed everywhere else needs to be recognized. This is one way of redressing past wrongs. Just one way, which is why I have to oppose the notion that it is an alternative to claims for reparation. The one might not even be …

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