Athens, October 29, 2015/Independent Balkan News Agency
By Spiros Sideris
The Greek Government reserves the right to claim from the Federal Republic of Germany the full satisfaction of all public claims, but also the claims of Greek nationals that derive from the two World Wars.
That is the report of the Privacy Working Group of the State Legal Council, which is brought to light for the first time, exclusively, by CNN Greece.
Among the conclusions of the voluminous Report, which was completed in January 2014, the Legal Council of State proposes that if the Greek Republic wants to “promote its demands more strongly”, it must follow these steps:
- Invited – through the diplomatic way – the Federal Republic of Germany to negotiate.
- If Germany refuses to enter into negotiations or failure to find an agreement between the two countries, then Greece should refer directly “in a binding for the parties a judicial judgment”, bypassing the Court of Arbitration of the London Agreement as it has only non-binding jurisdiction.
The “binding for the parties judicial judgement”
The fourth conclusion of the findings of the State Legal Council, suggests that if the Greek Republic wishes faster settlement of the open issue of its claims, it should bypass the appeal to the Court of Arbitration of the London Agreement and to refer the matter “to the binding for the two parties judicial judgment”. The view of the State Legal Council is that Greece will have to appeal to the International Court of Justice.
The Court of Arbitration of the London Agreement was established under Article 28 of the said Agreement and has exclusive jurisdiction over disputes arising out of the interpretation or application of the London Agreement issues. The Report scrutinize issues regarding legal problems and difficulties stemming from a possible appeal to the Court of Arbitration of the London Agreement.
Additionally, it examines the legal difficulties and open issues that may arise from resorting to the “binding on the parties a judicial crisis.” This is the International Court of Justice whose jurisdiction is recognized after a specific statement of each country to the UN Secretary General. Greece has submitted this statement since 1994, while Germany only in 2008.
The question that arises is whether the International Court of Justice has jurisdiction over matters arising before the filing of this statement. The authors of the Report argue that Greece could constitute legally that differences with Germany may be considered by the International Court of Justice, as long as there is a prior refusal of the German side to negotiate the regulation of Greek claims after a more recent official stirring of the matter by Greek side.
On page 94 of the Report, the Legal Council of State notes that an appeal to the International Court of Justice has to deal with the following restrictions:
- The dispute must concern facts and situations that have taken place before 01/05/2008.
- The dispute can’t be a matter that concerns the interpretation or application of the London Agreement.
- The dispute must be linked to a violation or other matter of public international law.
The Legal Conclusion of the Legal Council of State, revealed by CNN Greece, is already in the hands of the competent ministries in order to be used accordingly. The same goes for the report of the General Accounting Office on “Defining Claims of German reparations and the occupation loan”, which estimates the total demands to the staggering EUR 341 billion. This includes demands from WWI of about EUR 9 billion, the occupation loan of WWII, around EUR 10.34 billion, and other claims from the same war, which bring the total amount, according to the report of the GAO, to EUR 341.203 million.