Compensation for Massive Violations of Human Rights: Contemporary Relevance and Challenges to State Immunity

The Hague University of Applied Sciences, 12 September 2011, 6.30 p.m.

With Michael Bothe, Martin Klingner and Axel Hagedorn

The topic of compensations has received increased attention in the context of gross human rights violation and the multiplication of international courts and tribunals. The current case of Germany against Italy, Greece intervening, before the International Court of Justice (Jurisdictional Immunities of the State) highlights the problems and tensions arising in the enforcement of historical claims in an international setting, and potential conflict between rights and immunities.

ECCHR and the Republican Lawyers Association Germany (RAV) therefore cordially invite on the occasion of the first day of the Public Hearing of the Jurisdictional Immunities case to this panel discussion. The German Section of Amnesty International instructed Prof. em. Michael Bothe (Johann Wolfgang Goethe-University Frankfurt/Main) to write a legal expert opinion on “the question of State immunity before national courts in cases of massive violations of human rights and of international humanitarian law”, which the author presents on the panel. Furthermore, one of the representatives of the Greek victims in the Distomo case, attorney-at-law Martin Klingner (RAV Germany and Kanzlei 49, Hamburg), includes the victims’ perspective of the 1944 massacre in Distomo and litigation strategies before domestic courts in the discussion. Attorney-at-law Dr. Axel Hagedorn (Van Diepen Van der Kroef Advocaten), who represents the group of 6.000 relatives of victims in Srebrenica known as the ‘Mothers of Srebrenica’, shares his experiences in litigating the pending case regarding massive human rights violations in 1995 against the Dutch state and the United Nations before Dutch courts. The panel discussion seeks to investigate domestic and international case-law, as well as current enforcement options and their limitations. It will provide a ‘stocktaking’ of international law and practice, and provide policy-recommendations for future practice.

For further information, please contact ECCHR:
Andreas Schüller, schueller@ecchr.eu
(As moderator of the panel present in The Hague)

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