Italy’s highest court has rejected agreements giving Germany immunity from paying damages to the families of civilians killed by German soldiers in three Tuscan villages during the Second World War.
Judges ignored lawyers’ claims that Germany is exempt from being held financially responsible for crimes committed by Nazi soldiers under accords drawn up in 1947 and 1961.
A total of 203 people were shot dead on June 29 in 1944 in retaliation for the murder of three German soldiers by Italian partizans
International law expert Augusto Singaro said despite the ruling it is unlikely any money will be paid out: “I guess this verdict will not be pursued in Italy, because there are not a lot of public German properties to confiscate.”
Sequestrating property would be the only way relatives of the victims could realise their claims and the German authorities would have to admit liability before any compensation payments were made.
Diplomats fear the Cassation Court’s ruling, that Germany should pay 800,000 euros in compensation to nine victims of the massacre, could now pave the way for a flood of similar claims.