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Musings From Abroad

Germany drags Italy to ICJ over WW11 Nazi reparation



The German government has dragged Italy to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) asking it to halt the sale of German-owned buildings in Rome following announcement by the Italian government that it would soon auctioned off the assets to pay for Nazi war crimes compensation cases.

The German case against Italy which was filed on Friday, is an aftermath of a long-running dispute between the two countries regarding World War II reparations.

It was the second time that the case has been dragged to the ICJ following a similar effort in 2012 where the UN’s top court ruled that Germany couldn’t be sued in foreign courts by victims of Nazi war crimes.

In a filing published by The Hague court late on Friday, Germany argued that domestic courts in Italy had repeatedly violated the ICJ’s 2012 ruling after more than 25 new compensations claims were filed against Germany over damages arising from Nazi atrocities during the war.

In many of those cases, Italian courts have ordered Germany to pay compensation to victims and their families.

Germany is also seeking financial compensation from Italy “for any injury caused through violations of Germany’s right to sovereign immunity,” the filing stated.

Germany further argues in the filing that “Italy has violated, and continues to violate, its obligation to respect Germany’s sovereign immunity by threatening to take the buildings to pay for complaints filed by victims of Nazi crimes.”

Germany and Italy have been locked in a legal dispute over WWII reparations for years with the Germans’ arguement being that it has already paid out billions of euros in compensation for atrocities committed by the Nazi regime since the end of WWII, taking part in extensive reparations and peace treaties with the countries affected.

One of the cases involved a man who was deported to Germany in 1944 and forced to work as an enslaved laborer in a munitions factory while other cases concerned claims brought by the families of nine people who were among those killed by the German military in Civitella, Tuscany, in 1944, where 203 civilians were massacred by the Germans.

The most pressing issue for Germany, according to the filing, is a pending Italian court ruling on whether to force the sale of four of German-owned buildings.

The properties include buildings in Rome that house the local offices of the German Archaeological Institute, the German Historical Institute, the cultural Goethe Institute and the German School of Rome.

While no hearing has been scheduled for the case as rulings in the ICJ typically take years to come through, an Italian court said it would decide on May 25 whether to go ahead with the auction of the buildings.

Musings From Abroad

Russia’s African influence grows as envoy claims 1,890 ‘instructors’ in Central African Republic



The Russian ambassador to the Central African Republic, Alexander Bikantov has revealed that the country’s military presence in the insurgency-plagued African country.

Bikantov said in an interview published on Friday that 1,890 “Russian instructors” were present in the country. He mentioned that a focus of operations for the Kremlin-linked Wagner Group mercenary outfit.

“Today, there are 1,890 Russian instructors in the C.A.R.. The government is interested in increasing their number. Relatively recently, Bangui sent the relevant application to the UN Security Council”. Bikantov was quoted by the state-owned news agency RIA.

Russia’s influence among African countries battling insurgency has been on the rise lately, with solidified ties with West African country, Mali and much more recently its neighbours Burkina Faso. Both countries, which are under military dictators have reportedly engaged Russian mercenaries – the Wagner Group in the bid to overcome the uprising in their territories.

There are however reports of likely cases of crimes against humility by the government of Mali in its fight against terrorism in connection with its engagement with the Wagner group.

Although it is mineral-rich, the Central African Republic is one of the poorest countries in the world.

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Musings From Abroad

Israel, Sudan advance talks normalise relations



Following a transfer of power from the military to a civilian government in Khartoum, Israel, and Sudan have finalized a deal to normalise relations.

The Israeli foreign ministry made the revelation on Thursday, noting that the deal was agreed upon during a visit by Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen to “move forward towards normalising relations between the two countries.”

The visit is the first by an Israeli official acknowledged by Sudanese authorities, though there had been a series of exchanges by officials in recent years.

According to a statement by the Israeli foreign ministry, “… the visit, which was made with the consent of the United States, the parties finalised the text of the agreement.”

“The signing ceremony is expected to take place after the transfer of power in Sudan to a civilian government that will be established as part of the ongoing transition process in the country,” it said.

“We definitely look forward to signing the agreement and then to having diplomatic representatives both in Israel and in Sudan,” Lior Haiat, spokesperson for the foreign ministry who took part in the delegation, Cohen told newsmen.

“We are (now) building a new reality with the Sudanese, in which the ‘Three No’s’ will become the ‘Three Yeses’,” he said. “Yes to negotiations between Israel and Sudan, yes to recognition of Israel, and yes to peace between the states and between the peoples.”

In January 2021 Sudan said its then-justice minister Nasredeen Abdulbari had signed the Abraham Accords during a visit by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

A joint statement issued by the governments of Israel, Sudan, and the United States said that “The leaders agreed to the normalisation of relations between Sudan and Israel and to end the state of belligerence between their nations.”

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