Greece to sue Germany over war compensation
Greece will sue Germany at the International Court of Justice to seek compensation for war crimes committed by Nazi forces in Greece during the Second World War, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said on Wednesday.
Greece will seek 60 million euros worth of compensation for the killing of more than 200 civilians in the small town of Distomo in 1944 by Nazi forces in reprisal to guerrilla attacks, said Papandreou during a cabinet meeting in Athens.
"It is obvious that all our actions aim to serve our national interests. We regard it as our duty to honor with actions the memory of those who sacrificed their lives for our country," said Papandreou, raising an issue that for years was a sort of taboo in Greek-German relations.
Descendants of the victims started a marathon in courts in 1995 with an initiative of late lawyer Yiannis Stamoulis, former Greek member of the European Parliament who filed a lawsuit at Greek courts seeking compensation.
It was the first time individuals, not states, demanded compensation from a foreign state over war crimes, his daughter Kelly who has taken up her late father's cause, said on Wednesday.
She expressed satisfaction over the Greek government's "brave decision" to support the case in The Hague.
In 1997 and 2000, Greek courts ruled in favor of the war victims' relatives, demanding Germany pay them compensations of up to 60 million euros.
Germany rejected the ruling and appealed, arguing that German courts should examine the case.
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