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The ICJ Judgment in Germany v Italy, Access to Justice, and State Immunity for Grave Breaches of Human Rights

Start/End Wednesday, March 13, 2013 12:10 PM EDT -- 01:10 PM EDT
Location Name William Warren Hall Room 103

HRI invites you to a discussion with Francesco Francioni, CLS Visiting Professor, Professor of International Law & Human Rights & Director of the Law Academy at the European University Institute. How should international judgments be enforced in domestic law? In its decision of 3 February 2012 in Germany v Italy, Greece intervening, the International court of Justice (ICJ) found the Italy had breached the jurisdictional immunity of Germany by allowing access to its courts for victims of war crimes committed by German armed forces in the last phase of WW II. The operative paragraph of the judgment orders Italy to ensure that by legislation or other means of its choosing all national courts decisions infringing of Germany's immunity " cease to have effect". This decision confirms a trend, already shown in previous judgments, especially Avena and Other Mexican Nationals (Mexico v United States) 31 Jan. 2004, toward setting aside the traditional divide between international law and national law and going straight to the determination of what specific measures are necessary within the national system of the respondent state to remedy the violation of international law. But unlike Avena where the dispositif of the judgment entailed the recognition and the enforcement of an individual right, in Germany v Italy the Court goes in the opposite direction, ordering Italy to shut the doors of judicial redress victims of war crimes who had already received judicial protection. This presentation will discuss the options involved in the enforcement of this judgment in domestic law and the problematic effects it may have on the dynamic evolution of international law on sovereign immunity.