[JURIST] The German Federal Foreign Office [official website, in German] on Wednesday rejected a ruling by Italy's highest court ordering Germany to pay damages to relatives of civilians killed in the town of Civitella during World War II. The Italian Court of Cassation [official website, in Italian] on Tuesday awarded [AGI report] 1 million euros (US $1.3 million) to family members of some of the 203 civilians killed in the 1944 assault, which the German infantry carried out in response to an attack by Italian civilians. Reacting to the court's decision, a German Foreign Ministry spokesman said during a press conference that the award is unenforceable under the principle of state immunity. German lawyers have also argued that Germany paid compensation to Italy [La Repubblica report, in Italian] through a 1961 agreement. The Foreign Ministry spokesman would not say whether Germany would appeal the ruling to an international court. AP has more. DPA has local coverage.
The Court of Cassation awarded the damages [Corriere della Sera report, in Italian] in a case against Max Josef Milde, a sergeant present at the Civitella attack, who was sentenced in absentia to life in prison. Under Italian law, crime victims may seek civil damages as part of a criminal proceeding. International agreements that govern situations in which a nation may claim immunity include the European Convention on State Immunity [text], ratified by members of the Council of Europe in 1972, and the UN Convention on Jurisdictional Immunities of States and their Property [text], adopted in 2004.