Colonial-Racism on Trial
Ovaherero and Nama representatives, as well as UN Special Rapporteurs accuse Berlin of refusing reparations for the genocide in South West Africa, invoking colonial-racist arguments.
BERLIN/WINDHOEK (Own report) – Ovaherero and Nama representatives, as well as several UN Special Rapporteurs accuse the German government of violating UN conventions and using colonial-racist arguments. The accusations were sparked by a Joint Declaration Germany and Namibia had agreed on in May 2021, which stipulates that instead of paying reparations for the genocide of the Ovaherero and Nama, Berlin would only pay the habitual amount of development aid. Due to unexpectedly fierce protests, the Declaration has not yet been ratified by Namibia’s parliament. Meanwhile, legitimate representatives of the Ovaherero and Nama have filed a lawsuit against it in Namibia’s High Court. In addition, seven Special Rapporteurs appointed by the UN Human Rights Council, have recently lodged a complaint in Berlin. The German government must finally negotiate with the organizations of the victims’ descendants and renounce its legal standpoint claiming that the mass murder of the Ovaherero and Nama could not legally be classified as genocide, because the victims were not considered “civilized.” Berlin, priding itself of a “value-based” foreign policy, remains silent. Read more
Hush Money Instead of Compensation (II)
Herero and Nama organizations are preparing a lawsuit against an agreement in which Berlin is seeking to avoid full recognition and payment of reparations for the genocide carried out on their ancestors.
WINDHOEK/BERLIN (Own report) – In Namibia, Herero and Nama organizations are preparing a lawsuit contesting an agreement between Berlin and Windhoek on resolving the conflict over compensation for the genocide perpetrated from 1904 to 1908. The so-called Reconciliation Agreement had been initialed in May 2021 by both governments, but never signed by the Namibian side, because of strong protest from the descendants of the victims. On the one hand, they are insisting that Berlin fully recognize the genocide. Berlin has consistently refused to do so. The German government refuses to even apply the 1864 Geneva Convention or the 1899 Hague Convention on Land Warfare – among others, because these had applied, according to the legal standards at the time, only to “civilized” populations, not to populations in African colonies. On the other hand, the organization of the Herero and Nama are insisting on formal reparations for the genocide. Germany is only willing to accord a voluntary payment in approximately the amount of ordinary development aid. The “Reconciliation Agreement” will now to be reviewed in a Namibian court. Read more
Hush Money Instead of Reparations
Ovaherero and Nama protest the "reconciliation agreement" between Germany and Namibia: reparations for the genocide not intended.
BERLIN/WINDHOEK (Own report) - The legitimate representatives of the Ovaherero and Nama are raising strong protest against an alleged "reconciliation agreement" between Berlin and Windhoek, regarding the genocide perpetrated against their ancestors. According to reports, the agreement provides for Germany recognizing the genocide as such for the first time - however, only "historically and politically," explicitly excluding legal consequences. This irritating distinction would mean that Germany can refuse reparations, while saving face. Should Windhoek agree, Berlin would simply promise to raise the funds for development aid, thus terminating reparation demands once and for all. Ovaherero, as well as Nama, are not inclined to simply accept the deal, which will also need the Namibian president's official approval. This is a "public relations coup by Germany and an act of betrayal by the Namibian government," they declared, explicitly calling on the United Nations to reject the German "gimmick." Read more
BERLIN/WINDHOEK (Own report) - Berlin is forced to change its strategy in its efforts to ward off reparations demands for the genocide Germany carried out on the Ovaherero and Nama. Until now, the German government has simply refused to appear in court in New York for the class action lawsuit that had been opened in January 2017 and has refused to receive the court documents, in the hopes of causing a mistrial. It has finally decided to send a representative to the court hearings, not because of the massive protest by the victims' heirs, but because of a political intervention by the US embassy in Berlin, which no longer wanted to tolerate this brazen contempt of a US court. The German government however insists that it does not recognize the legitimacy of the New York court case - because of its claim of an alleged "state immunity." The victims' heirs have been considering occupation of the land that had once been robbed from the Ovaherero and Nama and is still owned by the heirs of German colonialists. Read more
WINDHOEK/BERLIN (Own report) - Next week's (January 25) scheduled New York trial date in the reparations class action lawsuit for the German genocide carried out on the Ovaherero and the Nama, threatens again to be aborted. The Berlin Senate's Department of Justice continues to refuse receipt of the trial documents, being transferred to the German government, in accordance with international agreements. As confirmed by an internal memorandum, the Department of Justice is only obligated to forward documents concerning civil and commercial conflicts, not indictments concerning genocide, and the German government considers the Ovaherero - Nama lawsuit in violation of its "state immunity." Berlin is also invoking this "state immunity" argument against lawsuits brought by the decedents of victims of massacres committed by the Nazi SS and Wehrmacht in Greece and Italy. This argument has been raised to the level of a universal instrument to ward off prosecution for horrendous war crimes, and is applied even for crimes that were recently committed. Read more