Germany and Italy will present arguments next week before the United Nations' highest court in a dispute over reparation claims for victims of Third Reich abuses that have been lodged before Italian courts.
From Monday, the two countries' lawyers will argue their cases before judges of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), where Germany applied in 2008 to stop Italy from allowing civil claims for Nazi war crimes.
Germany will put its case on Monday, Italy will follow on Tuesday, then on Wednesday, Greece, a "non-party" state in the case, will state its position.
A second round of arguments will follow Thursday and Friday before judges retire to make a decision.
Germany has argued that by permitting claims for abuses committed between September 1943 and May 1945 Italy "failed to respect the jurisdictional immunity" that modern-day Germany enjoyed under international law.
Germany has urged the ICJ to order Italy to live up to its international responsibility and take steps to ensure decisions by Italian courts "infringing on German sovereign immunity" cannot be enforced.
"To date, approximately 250 plaintiffs have brought civil actions against Germany, pending in 24 district courts and two appeals courts," Berlin said in its application.
Also before the Hague-based court is Greece, because relatives of victims of a 1944 massacre at Distomo, in Greece, which claimed 218 lives, turned to the Italian courts after their case stalled in Athens.
In 1997, a Greek court ordered Germany to pay €28.6 million ($37 million) to the Distomo plaintiffs, but opposition from Berlin and reluctance from Greek justice ministers meant the ruling was never enforced.
An Italian court, however, enforced the original ruling and slapped a financial charge on two buildings owned by the German state.
Germany has always refused to pay, saying the issue of compensation was settled by a bilateral agreement with Greece dating from 1960.
"The consequences would be severe," the director-general for legal affairs in Germany's foreign ministry, Susanne Wasum-Rainer, told judges of the International Court of Justice in the Hague.
"Once state immunity has been perforated, there is no reason not to extend the exceptions to a range of other areas," she told the 16-judge bench.
Wasum-Rainer said the whole system of victim compensation since World War II "would be put into question and and opened to challenge before domestic courts."
"All inter-state peace settlements concluded after an armed conflict will be put into jeopardy by allowing domestic courts to re-examine and reopen them," she warned.
Established in 1945, the ICJ is the UN's highest judicial organ and settles disputes between states. It is the only one of the six main UN bodies not located in New York.
The biggest lie of the 20th Century, an amazingly successful Psyop, has been for Germany to convince the world that what happened in WW2 was not Germans but Nazis. As if Nazis were not German.
German attempts at shirking guilt and responsibility began before Germany fell in 1945. The documented plan was to "arrange sympathy" when the Allies invaded. Germany has convinced the world that she was actually a victim of her own behaviour. Like an abusive husband who beats his wife, and convinces her its not his fault.
All of the revisionists of history, need to watch the Nuremberg Rally footage closely. The Nazis were certainly a uniquely sadistic phenomenon, but they were just a political party. A party that came to power with majority public support in Germany. Hitler, whether the German public agreed with his Jewish conspiracy or not, was preaching to the converted. Germans wanted to stick two fingers up to the US, UK, and France via the Versaille Treaty, denying their responsibilities again.
Many Germans, and some UK/US historians make the mistake of furthering Germany's lack of responsibility by blaming the cause of WW2 on the harsh conditions of the Versaille Treaty. Like a criminal blaming his previous prison sentence for the reason he committed a crime again. Their argument is not credible and the work of fiction, yet people still swallow the lie wholesale.
Yes, WW2 was a long time ago, but it is dangerous to allow the Germans to live the fantasy that WW2 and all that went with it, was caused and carried out by someone else (Nazis), not Germans.
For an example of the carefully manufactured image of Germany, read German Image Management