Germany snubs New York proceedings

The German government has refused to be summonsed to appear in a New York court in a lawsuit filed by the descendants of the Namibian genocide.

05 January 2018 | Justice

All indications are that Germany will not be appearing in a New York court for a federal class action lawsuit filed by the descendants of the OvaHerero and Nama people seeking restorative justice for the 1904-1908 genocide.

The court hearing is scheduled for 25 January.

Namibian Sun has learned that on 15 November the US Embassy reportedly attempted to deliver a summons to the German Foreign Office. However, Germany has refused to receive the summons, stating that it violates its 'state immunity'.

The state secretary of the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, Walter Lindner, reportedly indicated that his government would communicate this in an “appropriate manner” to the court in New York.

Long-time chairperson of the Nama Genocide Technical Committee Ida Hoffmann said she was not surprised at this and that she did not expect them to turn up.

She said the refusal was another manifestation of the German's contempt for the Nama and OvaHerero people.

“It is not right what they are doing. We are using our money to buy air tickets. But I am still planning on going nonetheless, depending on what our lawyers will advise us to do,” she said.



Not interested

It is not the first time that Germany has rejected an attempt to have papers served on the government. The government failed to make an appearance in court last year, claiming they had not been served with any papers.

Documents, however, showed that the German government was in fact served with summons on 5 January last year by order of the clerk of the court, listed as K. Lopez, and this summons was delivered to the German embassy in Washington DC.

That time, the case was adjourned to 21 July and then postponed again to 13 October after a certain company, Crowe Foreign Service, engaged the victim groups' legal representative, Kenneth McCallion, in an attempt to serve the German government through The Hague Convention.

This will be the third time Germany shuts the door on the Nama and OvaHerero descendants after it refused two attempts to accept summons served on its diplomatic missions in both Washington and New York.

During a press briefing, after his return from the second court hearing last year, OvaHerero Paramount Chief Vekuii Rukoro said that at the time the German government reportedly insisted that it wanted all legal processes to be served in terms of The Hague Convention, which provides for either serving such documents in the capital city of the defendant country, Berlin in this case, or alternatively to be served through diplomatic channels.

JEMIMA BEUKES

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