Current Developments

The Gambia and the Rohingya’s nightmare

Which opportunity for individual criminal accountability after the possible ICJ decision against Myanmar for genocide?

The Gambia submitted an application to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on 11 November 2019 against the Republic of the Union of Myanmar for acts of genocide committed against the Rohingya people. The proceedings have been initiated in application of the Genocide Convention of 1948 which both countries have ratified. They have also accepted the ICJ’s jurisdiction provided for therein under article IX. The Rohingya constitute a minority group …

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

The role of museums

When we talk about addressing the colonial past and decolonization, museums should play an active role and make their numerous voices heard. In order to play a relevant role in this context, a museum must address all issues that affect society. It must offer a space to exchange and debate ideas, for a community to present its diverse talents, and celebrate its history and culture. It has to involve today’s …

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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

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

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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Interview

‘Understanding our colonial past is a prerequisite to understanding the current migration situation’

An interview with Wolfgang Kaleck

Wolfgang Kaleck is the founder and General Secretary of the European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), a legal human rights organisation based in Berlin, Germany, dedicated to hold torturers and war criminals as well as transnational corporations accountable. In his latest book, ‘Law versus Power: Our global fight for human rights’, he underscores the notion that standards of human rights can prevail when people are willing to struggle …

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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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DiscussionKick-off

Neue Initiative der polnischen Regierung in Sachen deutscher Weltkriegsreparationen

Germany v. Italy 2.0?

Erneut fanden sich Anfang Januar 2018 Meldungen über Erwägungen der polnischen Regierung, Reparationsansprüche gegen die Bundesrepublik für Schäden des Landes während der deutschen Besatzung im 2. Weltkrieg geltend zu machen. Nun sollten US-amerikanische Gerichte helfen, die Ansprüche durchzusetzen, so der polnische Botschafter in Deutschland, Andrzej Przyłębski. Einigen dieser Aspekte soll sich dieser Beitrag widmen. Nie verheilte Wunden? Seit dem Regierungswechsel in Warschau im Spätherbst 2015 überholt die neue nationalkonservative PiS-Regierung nicht …

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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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