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

German colonialism, reparations and international law

Reparations have become an increasingly important entry point to the conversation about the unfinished business of decolonization. Even though reparations have an established role in transitional justice and human rights, very little attention has been paid to the transition from colonialism or the legacies of colonial human rights abuses. While Namibia’s political independence was an important first step, the decolonization process did not confront two pivotal dimensions of colonial legacies. …

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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 law as a (limited) means to address colonial injustice

Calls for reparations for historic injustices dominate current Namibian discourse. Such calls are directed to both the German and Namibian governments. The German government is called upon to take full responsibility for the heinous crimes committed against the Ovaherero and Nama peoples during the 1904–1908 genocide. After all, the impugned genocidal acts were perpetrated under the infamous orders of General Lothar von Trotha, who acted in the name of the …

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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

Decolonizing intertemporal international law

As with many legal disputes concerning Europe’s bloody colonial past, conversations about the Ovaherero and Nama’s right to reparations from Germany often reach a dead end at the mention of intertemporal international law. Accordingly, one should judge the past by the legal standards of its time, not by our modern perceptions. As the rules of the past were mostly nasty and brutish, the argument goes, the victims of colonial injustice …

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

Colonial repercussions in Germany and Namibia

The colonial past and its complex repercussions are finally present in post-colonial European public discourse. So far, however, this has had little to no effect on formerly colonized societies. One reason for this is that post-colonial structural inequalities between the so-called Global North and Global South still prevent equal access to resources and discourses, thus obstructing discussions about colonial injustice and post-colonial repercussions. Both former colonial powers like the United …

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BofaxeCurrent Developments

Alle Wege führen nach Dublin

Über die rechtswidrige Rückschiebung eines afghanischen Flüchtlings nach Griechenland

Im Jahr 2018 einigte sich Deutschland mit Griechenland in Form eines Verwaltungsabkommens darauf, dass aus Griechenland über Österreich nach Deutschland einreisende Flüchtlinge unter bestimmten Voraussetzungen unverzüglich nach Athen zurückgeführt werden dürfen. Im Zuge dessen verweigerte die Bundespolizeidirektion einem aus Afghanistan stammenden Flüchtling nach einer Kontrolle die Weiterreise und sorgte für seine Rückführung nach Griechenland, wo er zuerst einen Asylantrag gestellt hatte. Im Rahmen des einstweiligen Rechtsschutzes geht nun das Verwaltungsgericht …

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Current Developments

Can German courts stop “Hellfire” from Ramstein?

Being a Saarbrücken-based legal scholar traveling regularly to Frankfurt, the sight of the American Ramstein Air Base (or “Ramstein” for short) approaching just before Kaiserslautern is nothing unusual. Most of the time, the high fences on the left side go unnoticed, unless perhaps one of the US Airforce “Globemasters” is casually floating over the highway. This was different on my last trip to Frankfurt – when spotting Ramstein triggered my …

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SymposiumVerfassungs- und Völkerrecht im Spannungsverhältnis

Hört erst beim Geld die Freundschaft auf?

Zur Neujustierung des Völkervertragsrechts in der deutschen Rechtsordnung

Die Einbeziehung von Völkervertragsrecht in die deutsche Rechtsordnung läuft seit Jahren routiniert. Ein völkerrechtlicher Vertrag wird durch ein Bundesgesetz, das so genannte Vertragsgesetz, in die deutsche Rechtsordnung geholt und gilt dann, so die herrschende Meinung, auf der Ebene des einfachen Bundesrechts. Art. 59 Abs. 2 Grundgesetz ist, so scheint es, bis in alle Einzelheiten ausgelegt.

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