BERLIN/WINDHOEK | | namibia

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. more…

WINDHOEK/BERLIN | | namibia

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. more…

Non-Receivable

WINDHOEK/BERLIN/ROME | | namibia

WINDHOEK/BERLIN/ROME (Own report) - The compensation claims brought by descendants of victims of German colonial crimes in the former German South West Africa are threatened to fail, because the authorities in Berlin are obstructing the transfer of court documents. With their class action suit filed in a New York court, representatives of the Ovaherero and Nama peoples in today's Namibia are trying to win compensation for the crimes German colonialists perpetrated against their ancestors - particularly the crime of genocide. The Senator of Justice for the regional government of Berlin, Dirk Behrendt (Green Party), is refusing to transfer court documents his office has received from New York to the German foreign ministry - alleging that the lawsuit is inadmissible. This attempt to obstruct the lawsuit is only the latest in a series with which Berlin for decades has been attempting to silence descendants of the victims of German colonial and war crimes. Germany's main argument that, because Germany enjoys "state immunity" it cannot be sued by private individuals, has recently begun to unravel. more…

BERLIN/WINDHOEK | | namibia

BERLIN/WINDHOEK (Own report) - Representatives of Namibia's Ovaherero and Nama peoples have filed a class action complaint, while Berlin is trying to get off cheap in the dispute over compensation for Germany's colonial crimes. The victims' descendants are demanding compensation for the seizure of their land and cattle and for the genocide perpetrated on their ancestors in South West Africa, a German colony at the time. The German government was poised to reach a negotiated settlement with the Namibian government in the compensation dispute. Windhoek was supposed to renounce all compensation claims and, in return, receive a "Future Foundation" to appease the Ovaherero and Nama peoples - who would otherwise be left empty handed - with memorial sites and other projects of cheap "commemorative culture." Berlin sees good chances to ward off compensation lawsuits. The relevant norms of international law, at the time, offer no basis for proceedings against the massacres in German South West Africa, according to an expertise of the Reference and Research Service of the German Bundestag. Genocide is a criminal offense only since 1948, and therefore cannot be retroactively prosecuted. The "Future Foundation" was scheduled to be soon inaugurated with an official apology by Germany's president. The class action complaint has now put this timetable on hold. more…

"Naked Racism"

WINDHOEK/BERLIN | | namibia

WINDHOEK/BERLIN (Own report) - A Namibian parliamentary initiative for reparations has been sharply rejected by German parliamentarians. The National Assembly in the Namibian capital, Windhoek, is currently discussing a resolution of the Herero population group, that calls for government-level negotiations of their demands for reparations for the German genocide perpetrated against their people. As the leader of a German parliamentary delegation, that was in Namibia last week for discussions, explains, the Herero should temper their demands and accept Germany's development aide payments, to its former colony, as a "peace dividend". The question of land reform was also the focus of virulent debates between German parliamentarians and members of the Namibian government. Berlin is insisting that Windhoek renounce on an acceleration of the reallocation of large landed estates, thereby protecting the descendants of German colonialists. German foreign policy measures are, in the meantime, encountering hefty criticism in this Southern African country. The German government's refusal to pay reparations is an "expression of naked racism toward blacks, in general, and the Hereros in particular", declared a representative of the African victims of this genocide. more…

WINDHOEK/BERLIN/KINSHASA | | namibia

WINDHOEK/BERLIN/KINSHASA (Own report) - Namibia, under German pressure, is renouncing on an acceleration of the land reform and has decided against the interests of the majority black population. The extremely inequitable apportionment of arable land derives from the German colonial era. Some in the Namibian government had demanded that a more rapid break with this past be made - in vain. Berlin has, since some time, been warning against an acceleration of the land reform, that would reduce the power of the white big landowners. Numerous descendants of German colonialists are among the economic elite of the country. Namibia is one of the special spheres of interest of German foreign policy in southern Africa. The German government recently assured, with large sums, the upgrading of the Walvis Bay harbor. Walvis Bay is the only deep sea harbor on the Southern African West Coast. It serves as a commercial turnstile for the neighboring states. Walvis Bay is also used by German warships. Joint maneuvers with the Namibian military, which have been supported by the German Bundeswehr since 1992, are not considered out of the question. The European militarization of Africa is being accelerated. more…