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Criminal Proceedings Against Albers

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Filippo Fontanelli*
Affiliation:
University of Surrey

Extract

In August 2012, the First Criminal Division of the Court of Cassation (Supreme Court or Court), the highest Italian domestic court, issued a judgment upholding Germany’s sovereign immunity from civil claims brought by Italian war crime victims against Paul Albers and eight others in the Italian courts (Albers). In so doing, the Court overruled its own earlier decisions and also reversed the judgment of April 20, 2011, by the Italian Military Court of Appeal (Military Court), which had upheld such claims relating to war crimes committed by German forces in Italy during World War II. With this ruling, the Court of Cassation put an end to its decade long effort to find an exception to the well-known rule of customary international law providing for sovereign immunity from foreign civil jurisdiction for acts jure imperii. This revirement resulted from the Court’s decision to give effect to the judgment of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in Germany v. Italy.

Type
International Decisions
Copyright
Copyright © American Society of International Law 2013

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References

1 Criminal Proceedings Against Albers, Cass., sez. un. pen., 9 agosto 2012, n. 32139, 95 Rivista Di Diritto Internazionale [RDI] 1196 (2012), Int’l L. Domestic Cts. [ILDC] 1921 (in Ital.). All citationsto the judgment in this report are to the version in RDI. Translations of this and other Italian cases herein are by the author unless otherwise noted.

2 Jurisdictional Immunities of the State (Ger. v. It.: Greece Intervening) (Int’l Ct. Justice Feb. 3. 2012), at http://icj-cij.org [hereinafter Germany v. Italy] (reported by Alexander Orakhelashvili at 106 AJIL 609 (2012)).

3 Ferrini v. Repubblica federale di Germania, Cass., sez. un., 11 marzo 2004, n. 5044, 87 RDI 539 (2004), translated in 128 ILR 658 (reported by Andrea Bianchi at 99 AJIL 242 (2005)).

4 See, e.g., United Nations Convention on Jurisdictional Immunities of States and Their Property, GA Res. 59/38, annex, Art. 12 (Dec. 2, 2004).

5 Cass., sez. un., 29 maggio 2008, n. 14199 (judgment); Cass., sez. un., 29 maggio 2008, nn. 14200–12 (13 orders).

6 Quoting Repubblica federale di Germania v. Mantelli, Cass., sez. un., 29 maggio 2008, n. 14201, ILDC 1037, para. 11 (emphasis added) (in Ital.), quoted in Carlo Focarelli, Case Report: Federal Republic of Germany v. Giovanni Mantelli and Others, 103 AJIL 122, 125 (2009).

7 Quoting Mantelli, ILDC 1037, para. 11, quoted in Focarelli at 125.

8 Criminal Proceedings Against Milde, Cass., I sez. pen., 13 gennaio 2009, n. 1072, 92 RDI 618 (2009), ILDC 1224 (in Ital.); cf. United States v. Tissino, Cass., sez. un., 25 febbraio 2009, n. 4461, ILDC 1262 (in Ital.); Lozano v. Italy, Cass., I sez. pen., 24 luglio 2008, n. 31171, para. 7, ILDC 1085 (in Ital.; partial Eng. trans.); Tigri Tamil, Trib. Napoli, 29 gennaio 2012, at http://www.penalecontemporaneo.it/upload/Sentenza%20Guardiano%20Tigri%20Tamil.pdf (all excluding application of Ferrini principle to acts that do not amount to International crimes or crimes against humanity).

9 Milde, para. 4.

10 Repubblica federale di Germania v. Prefettura Autonoma di Vojotia, Cass., I sez. civ., 20 maggio 2011, n. 11163, translated in ILDC 1815.

11 Legge 31 maggio 1995, n. 218, Art. 64(1)(g); EC Regulation No. 44/2001, Art. 34(1), 2001 O.J. (L 12) 1, 10.

12 Prefettura Autonoma di Vojotia, ILDC 1815, para. 30 (emphasis added).

13 Germany v. Italy, supra note 2, para. 93.

14 Manfredi v. Repubblica federale di Germania, Trib. Firenze, 28 marzo 2012, 95 RDI 583 (2012); Repubblica federale di Germania v. De Guglielmo, App. Torino, 3 maggio 2012, id. at 916.

15 De Guglielmo at 921 (emphasis added).

16 Legge 14 gennaio 2013, n. 5, Art. 3(2) (ratifying United Nations Convention on the Jurisdictional Immunities of States and Their Property, supra note 4).

17 see Somogyi, Cass., I sez. pen., 3 ottobre 2006, n. 32678; Cat Berro, Cass., V sez. pen., 2 febbraio 2007, n. 4395; Somogyi v. Italy, 2004-IV Eur. Ct. H.R. 77.

18 see Art. 625 bis Codice Di Procedura Penale. It will be applicable to those criminal proceedings, like Albers and Milde, where the victims were admitted to bring a civil claim.

19 Germany v. Italy, supra note 2, para. 138.

20 Orakhelashvili, supra note 2, at 616.

21 Ferdinandusse, Ward, Out of the Black-Box? The International Obligation of State Organs, 29 Brook. J. Int’l L. 45 (2003)Google Scholar.

22 Germany v. Italy, para. 139(4).

23 Id., para. 137.

24 see Sossai, Mirko, Are Italian Courts Directly Bound to Give Effect to the Jurisdictional Immunities Judgment? , 21 It. Y.B. Int’l L. 175, 178–79 (2011)Google Scholar.

25 see Francioni, Francesco, From Utopia to Disenchantment: The Ill Fate of ‘Moderate Monism’ in the ICJ Judgment on the Jurisdictional Immunities of the State, 23 Eur. J. Int’l L. 1125, 1129 (2012)Google Scholar.

26 see Charnovitz, Steve, Correcting America’s Continuing Failure to Comply with the Avena Judgment , 106 AJIL 572, 574 (2012)Google Scholar.

27 Id. at 573.

28 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, Apr. 18, 1961, 23 UST 3227, 500 UNTS 95.

29 Corte cost., 18 giugno 1979, n. 48 (final para.), Gazzetta Ufficiale 1979, n. 175, available at http://www.cortecostituzionale.it.

30 see L. n. 218/1995, supra note 11, Art. 11.

31 Joined Cases C-402/05 P & C-415/05 P, Kadiv.Council, 2008 ECR I-6351 (reported by Miša Zgorec-Rožej at 103 AJIL 305 (2009)).

32 Nn. 17962/2011 (L. Ferrini and heirs) and 12021/12 (O. Ferrini and heirs), cited in Cataldi, Giuseppe, The Implementation of Germany v. Italy, 2 Esil Reflections, Jan. 24, 2013, at http://www.esil-sedi.eu/node/281 Google Scholar.

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