Greece to Join Hague German War Reparations Case

Greece’s government said it will be represented at the International Court of Justice at The Hague in relation to a claim for German war reparations by relatives of victims of a massacre in a Greek village during World War II.

“I have taken the decision that Greece intervene at the International Court of Justice at the Hague on this specific case,” Prime Minister George Papandreou told his ministers in Athens today, according to an e-mailed statement of his comments. “We are faithfully serving the country’s interests as well as paying respect to those who were sacrificed for our nation.”

Greece faced a Jan. 14 deadline to decide whether to take part in the court case, which will determine whether relatives of the 1944 Distomo massacre, in which 218 villagers were killed, are entitled to compensation from Germany. The group was awarded 25 million euros ($32.5 million) plus interest by an Italian court, according to state-run Athens News Agency, prompting the German state to appeal the decision.

In February last year, before Greece received a 110 billion-euro bailout from the European Union and International Monetary Fund, Papandreou said seeking compensation from Germany for Nazi war crimes was still an open issue. He spoke after his deputy, Theodoros Pangalos, suggested that the German government isn’t entitled to criticize Greek finances due to Nazi crimes. Germany is the largest single contributor to the Greek bailout package forged in May.

Germany’s Constitutional Court ruled in March 2006 it didn’t have to pay compensation to individuals seeking damages over war crimes. Germany paid 115 million deutsche marks ($80 million) to Greek victims of Nazi crimes under a 1960 treaty.

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