THE FERRINI JUDGMENT OF THE ITALIAN SUPREME COURT: OPENING UP DOMESTIC COURTS TO CLAIMS OF REPARATION FOR VICTIMS OF SERIOUS VIOLATIONS OF FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHTS

In: The Italian Yearbook of International Law Online
Author: MASSIMO IOVANE1
View More View Less
  • 1 Professor of International Law, University of Napoli "Federico II".

Purchase instant access (PDF download and unlimited online access):

€29.95$34.95
  • ' Corte di Cassazione (Sezioni Unite civil), 11 March 2004, No. 5044, Ferrini v Repubblica Federale di Germania. The Italian text of the judgment is published in RDI, 2004, p. 539 ff. The judgment has already received extensive commentary by the Italian doctrine: RONZITTI, "Un cambio di orientamento della Cassazione che favorisce i risarcimenti delle vittime", Guida al diritto, 10 April 2004, p. 38 ff.; Sico, "Sulla immunita dalla giurisdizione italiana della Repubblica Federale di Germania in rapporti alle conseguenze patrimoniali di atti compiuti dalle forze armate tedesche in Italia nell'anno 1944", Diritto e giurisprudenza, 2004, p. 505 ff.; DE SENA, "Immunita degli Stati dalla giurisdizione e violazioni dei diritti dell'uomo: la sentenza della Cassazione italiana nel caso Ferrini", Giur. It., 2004, p. 264 ff.; BARATTA, "L'esercizio della giurisdizione civile sullo Stato straniero autore di un crimine di guerra", Giustizia civile, 2004, p. 1200 ff.; ClAMPI, "Crimini internazionali e giurisdizione", Cassazione penale, 2004, pp. 2656-2670; GIANELLI, "Crimini internazionali ed immunita degli Stati dalla giurisdizione nella sentenza Ferrini", RDI, 2004, p. 643 ff; DE SENA and DE VITTOR, "State Immunity and Human Rights: The Italian Supreme Court Decision on the Ferrini Case", EJIL, 2005, p. 89 ff; GATTINI, "War Crimes and State Immunity in the Ferrini Decision", JICJ, 2005, p. 224 ff.; BIANCHI, AJIL, 2005, p. 242 ff.

  • 2 See Articles 2 to 6 his of the 1968 Brussels Convention. ' Tribunale di Arezzo, Judgment No. 1403/98 of 3 November 2000. This judgment has not yet been published. The line of reasoning followed by the Tribunale is addressed by the Supreme Court in the first paragraphs of its judgment, paras. 1-1.3.

  • 4 paras. 2-3. 5 On this point, one may wonder why the Ca,ssazione did not refer to the relevant provisions of the 1971 Protocol to the Brussels Convention. It is this Protocol and not Article 234 of the EC Treaty which regulates the competence of the Court to deal with questions of interpretation of the Brussels Convention.

  • 6 Para. 5. 1 Corte di Cassazione (Sezioni Unite), 3 August 2000, No. 530, Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri and Others v Italian Federation of Transport Workers and Others; The United States of America v Italian Federation of Transport Workers and Others, IYIL, 2000, p. 289 ff.

  • R McElhinney v Ireland, Application No. 31253/96, Judgment of 21 November 2001.

  • 9 Para. 7. 10 Corte di Cassazione (Sezioni Unite), 5 June 2002, No. 8157 (order), Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri v. Markovic and others, IYIL, 2002, p. 292 ff., with a note by BRUNO. The order has been commented upon by RONZITTI, "Azioni belliche e risarcimento del danno", RDI, 2002, p. 682 ff.; ID., "Compensation for Violations of the Law of War and Individual Claims", IYIL, 2002, p. 39 ff.; FRULLI, "When Are States Liable to Individuals for Serious Violations of Humanitarian Law? The Markovic Case", JICJ, 2003, p. 406 ff.; BRUNO, "'Danni collaterali'

  • nella 'guerra giusta ai confini dell'impero'. Alcune riflessioni sul caso Markovic", in Scrilti in ricordo di Giovanni Motzo, Napoli, 2004, p. 75 ff. "part. 7.1. 1.

  • 12 This point has been rightly underscored by BIANCI-11, cil. supra note I, p. 247. " This concept of jus cogens has been developed in my monograph La tzrtela dei valori J'on- dameniali nel diritto internazionale, Napoli, 2000. See the review by SANTU��I, RGDIP, 200I, p. 267, where this author highlights the distinction drawn in the book between the hierarchy theory and ordre public. '^ Para. 7.4.

  • t5lbid.

  • 16 Para. 9. " Para. 9.2.

  • IR Ibid. '`' Prefecture of Voiolia v. Federal Repuhlic of Germany, Case No. 11/2000, 4 May 2000, discussed by GAVOUNELI and BANTEKAS in AJIL, 2001, p. 198 f�'. On the judgment see also the critical remarks by GATTINI, "To What Extent Are State Immunity and Non-Justiciability Major Hurdles to Individuals' Claims for War Damages?", J1CJ, 2003, p. 358 f�'.

  • 10 part. 8.2.

  • 21 Stipra note I 9. 22 General Assembly Resolution 59/38 of 16 December 2004. 23 Para. 10.2.

  • 2 Among authors particularly dealing with this topic see recently: GAVOUNELI, "War Reparation Claims and State Immunity", Revue hellenique dc droit international, 1997, p. 595 ff.; RESS, "The Changing Relationship Between State Immunity and Human Rights", in DE SALVIA and VILLIGER (eds.), The Birth of European Human Rights Law - L'eclosion du droit europeeen des droits de I'homme, Liber Amicorum Carl Aage Norgaard, Baden-Baden, 1998, p. 175 ff.; KARAGIANNAKIS, "State Immunity and Fundamental Human Rights", Leiden JIL, 1998, p. II ff.; FLAUSS, "Droits des immunites et protection internationale des droits de I'homme", Schw. ZIER, 2000, p. 299 ff.; DE VITTOR, "Immunita degli Stati dalla giurisdizione e tutcla dei diritti umani fondamentali", RDI, 2002, p. 573 ff.; CAPLAN, "State Immunity, Human Rights, and Jus Cogens: A Critique of the Normative Hierarchy Theory", AJIL, 2003, p. 741 ff.; B)ANCH), "Serious Violations of Human Rights and Foreign States' Accountability Before Municipal Courts", in VOHRAH et al. (eds.), Man's Inhumanity to Man. Essays on International Law in Honour of Antonio Cassese, The Hague/LondonlNew York, 2003, p. 149 ff.; BIANCHI, "L'immunite des Etats et Ics violations graves des droits de I'homme: la fonction de I'interprete dans la determination du droit international", RGDIP, 2004, p. 63 ff. 25 Cf. CRAWFORD, "International Law and Foreign Sovereigns: Distinguishing Immune Transactions", BYIL, 1983, p. 75 ff.

  • zb CONFORTT, Diritto internazionale, 6"' ed., Napoli, 2002, p. 38. 27 The issue is dealt with by BInNCHI, "Denying State Immunity to Violators of Human Rights", Austrian Journal of Public International Law, 1994, p. 195 ff. 2R On this point see FRANCIONI, "Balancing the Prohibition of Force with the Need to Protect Human Rights: A Methodological Approach", in CANNIZZARO and PALCHETTI (eds.), Cu.stomary International Law on the Use of Force: A Methodological Approach, The Hague/Boston, p. 269 ff., available at www.addix.it/internazionale/relazioni/Francioni.pdf z9 Amerada He.ss Shipping Corporation v. Argentin Republic, US Court of Appeals, 2nd Circuit, Judgment of 11 September 1987, 830 F 2d 421 (1987), ILR, 1989, pp. 8-17. '° Siderman de Blake and Others v. Republic ofArgentina and Other-s, US Court of Appeals, 9"' Circuit, Judgment of 22 May 1992, 965 F 2d 699 (1992), ILR, Vol. 103, 1996, pp. 454-479.

  • " Leielier v. Chile, District Court, District of Columbia, Judgment of 1 March I980, 488 F. Supp. 665 (D.D.C. 1980), ILR, Vol. 63, pp. 378-390; Giu v. Republic of China, Court of Appeals, 9'" Circuit, Judgment of 29 December 1989, 892 F. Supp. 1419, ILR, Vol. 101, 1995, pp. 519- 535. 12 Von Dardel v Union ofSoviet Socialist Republics, US District Court, District of Columbia, Judgment of 15 October 1985, 623 F. Supp. 246 (1985), ILR, Vol. 77, 1988, pp. 258-275; Hugo Princz v Federal Republic of Germany, US District Court, District of Columbia, Judgment of 23 December 1992, 813 F. Supp. 22, 26 (D.D.C. 1992), ILR, Vol. 103, 1996, pp. 598-603. " Argentine Republic v. Amerada Hes.s Shipping, US Supreme Court, Judgment of 23 January 1989, 102 L Ed 2d 818 ( 1989), ILR, Vol. 81, 1990, pp. 658-669. '4 Federal Republics of Germany v. Hugo Princz, US Court ofAppeals, District of Columbia Circuit, Judgment of 1 July 1994, 26 F 3d 1 t 66 (1994), ILR, Vol. 103, 1996, pp. 604-62 1. 'S See infYa section 6. '6 See supra note 19.

  • 17 See infra section 6.

  • 38 Para. 9. I. 19 Ibid.

  • °° For the most recent works on that problem see STEPHENS and RATNER, International Human Rights Litigation in US. Court, Irvington-on-Hudson, New York, 1996; STEINHARDT and D'AMATO, The Alien Tort Claims Act: An Analytical Anthologv, Ardsley, New York, 1999; VAN SHAACK, "In Defence of Civil Redress: The Domestic Enforcement of Human Rights Norms in the Context of the Proposed Hague Judgments Convention", Harvard 1LJ, 2001, p. 141 ff; STEPHENS, "Translating Filartiga: A Comparative and International Law Analysis of Domestic Remedies for International Human Rights Violations", Yale JIL, 2002, pp. 1-57. 41 The importance of domestic courts in applying and interpreting international law, especial- ly those international rules protecting interests of individuals, has been systematically developed and encouraged in Italian doctrine by CONFORTI, cit. supra note 26.

  • 'z RANDALL, Federal Courts and the International, (Human Rights Paradigm, Durham/ London, 1990, pp. 163-I93.

  • "UNDOC S/2000/1063. " This was declared by Judge Akua Kuenyehia, First Vice-President of the International Criminal Court in the address pronounced at the first meeting of the Board of Directors of the Trust Fund for Victims. The text of the address is available on the official site of the International Criminal Court.

  • 11 For a general discussion on this topic see RANDELZHOFER and TOMUSCHAT (eds.), State Responsibility and the Individual, The Hague/Boston/London, 1999; PISILLO MAZZESCHI, "Reparation Claims by Individuals for State Breaches of Humanitarian Law and Human Rights",

  • JICJ, 2003, p. 341 ff.; ID., �.saurimento dei ricor.si interni e diritto umani, Torino, 2004, p. 26 ff.; SHIN HAE BONG, "Compensation for Victims of Wartime Atrocities - Recent Developments in Japan's Case Law", JICJ, 2005, p. 187 ff On the difficulties to implement the right of the victims of international crimes to receive reparation see RIGAUX, "La condition des victimes de crimes de droit international", in VoHRAH et al. (eds.), cit. supra note 24, p. 771 ff. 16 UN Doc. S/2004/6 ( 6. " The Report was issued in Geneva on 25 January 2005 pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1564 of 18 September 2004. 'R para. 598, pp. 151-152.

  • 49 The Revised Draft on the Basic Principles is dated 5 August 2004. The text is available at www.ohchr.org/english/events/meetings/docs/versionrev.doc. The Draft was prepared in consul- tation with the independent experts Theo Van Boven and Cherif Bassiouni pursuant to Resolution 2004/34 of the Commission on Human Rights, adopted on 19 April 2004. The latest text of the Basic Principles officially adopted by the Commission on Human Rights is contained in Human Rights Resolution 2005/35 of 19 April 2005. 50 Para. 9. 51 For the sake of brevity, we refer here to information reported by GATTINI, cit. supra note I, p. 226 ff sz See recently on this point GAJA, "Is a State Specially Affected When Its Nationals' Human Rights Are Infringed?", in VOHRAH et al. (eds.), cit. supra note 24, p. 373 ff.

  • " Res. 40/34. 14 This could be the case of the German "Law on the Creation of a Foundation 'Remembrance, Responsibility and Future'" of 2 August 2000, which came into force on 12 August 2000.

  • ss Internationally sponsored programmes to provide reparations to victims for harm suffered by victims of human rights abuses is envisaged also by the UN Secretary-General's Report on "The Rule of Law and Transitional Justice", cit. supra note 46, Chapter XVI, p. 18. sb DE VITTOIt, cit. supra note 24, espec. p. 608.

  • ' PISILLO MAZZESCH), "Immunita giurisdizionale delle organizzazioni internazionali e Costituzione italiana", RDI, 1976, p. 489 ff.; CONDO�EFI, "Le immunita diplomatiche e i prin- cipi fondamentali della Costituzione", Giur. Cost., 1979, I, p. 455 ff.; CONFORTI, cit. supra note 26, pp. 296-297. With specific reference to the Ferrini judgment: BARATTA, cit. supra note 1, p. 1203; DE SENA, "Immunity degli Stati", cil. supra note 1, p. 264. 5R Bonn, 19 September 1995, ILM, 1996, p. 193 ff.

  • s9 After the judgment of the Court of Appeals affirming the United States jurisdiction in the Siderman case, Argentina accepted to pay damages to the Siderman family: New York Times, 14 September 1996, p. 6. 6U As is well known, the Letelier case ended with an agreement between United States and Chile, whereby Chile accepted to pay damages for the deaths of Letelier and Moffit. The text of the agreement is published in ILM, 1992, p. 3 f£ 6' On these problems see DE VITTOIt, cit. supra note 24, pp. 608-617.

Content Metrics

All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 113 77 3
Full Text Views 57 7 0
PDF Views & Downloads 8 8 0