Relatives of Afghans killed by an airstrike ordered by a German NATO officer in northern Afghanistan have taken Germany’s government to court.
The country has already paid more than 400,000 dollars – or 330,000 euros – in what it calls aid. The families from Kunduz want ten times that amount.
At the courthouse in Bonn, federal government lawyer Mark Zimmer said: “Of course I can understand these people because they suffered a terrible fate. At the same time, it is our task to fend off this claim because Bonn District Court is not the right place for it. There are rights based on international law and there are payments which have already been made, also by the German government.”
Karim Popal, a lawyer for the plaintiffs countered: “The goodwill aid payments of 5,000 dollars were handed out in a men’s assembly, so a lot of orphans and widows received nothing. A lot of strangers lined their pockets. Some of our clients received this aid, others did not.”
Scores of people were killed or maimed in September 2009 when two stolen fuel tankers were hit in the airstrike.
The planes were American, but the order came from a German commander.
Germany’s lower house of parliament said it was ‘one of the most serious incidents involving the German army since World War Two.’