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Remedies against Immunity?

Reconciling International and Domestic Law after the Italian Constitutional Court’s Sentenza 238/2014

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  • Open Access
  • © 2021

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  • A first in-depth analysis of the landmark Italian judgment on state immunity and reparations for World War II crimes from an international, European, and domestic law perspective
  • This volume collects the contributions of an outstanding group of Italian and German academics and legal practitioners, including the personal recollections of a sitting judge, and a Dialogical Epilogue written by Joseph H.H. Weiler in conversation with the authors
  • A reference publication for studies on the relationship between international and domestic law and on state immunities and human rights.
  • Dr. Omri Sender, Advisor and Litigator in Public International Law: “This fantastic new book was a pleasure to read. The fascinating different perspectives that are offered, the exceptionally rich discussion of both law and policy, and innovations such as the dialogical epilogue, all make this volume a remarkable achievement -- a real gem.”

Part of the book series: Beiträge zum ausländischen öffentlichen Recht und Völkerrecht (BEITRÄGE, volume 297)

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About this book

The open access book examines the consequences of the Italian Constitutional Court’s Judgment 238/2014 which denied the German Republic’s immunity from civil jurisdiction over claims to reparations for Nazi crimes committed during World War II. This landmark decision created a range of currently unresolved legal problems and controversies which continue to burden the political and diplomatic relationship between Germany and Italy. The judgment has wide repercussions for core concepts of international law and for the relationship between different legal orders.

The book’s three interlinked legal themes are state immunity, reparation for serious human rights violations and war crimes (including historical ones), and the interaction between international and domestic institutions, notably courts.

Besides a meticulous legal analysis of these themes from the perspectives of international law, European law, and domestic law, the book contributes to the civic debate on the issue of war crimes and reparation for the victims of armed conflict. It proposes concrete legal and political solutions to the parties involved for overcoming the present paralysis with a view to a sustainable interstate conflict solution and helps judges directly involved in the pending post-Sentenza reparation cases.

After an Introduction (Part I), Part II, Immunity, investigates core international law concepts such as those of pre/post-judgment immunity and international state responsibility. Part III, Remedies, examines the tension between state immunity and the right to remedy and suggests original schemes for solving the conundrum under international law. Part IV adds European Perspectives by showcasing relevant regional examples of legal cooperation and judicial dialogue. Part V, Courts, addresses questions on the role of judges in the areas of immunity and human rights at both the national and international level. Part VI, Negotiations, suggests concrete ways out of the impasse with a forward-looking aspiration. In Part VII, The Past and Future of Remedies, a sitting judge in the Court that decided Sentenza 238/2014 adds some critical reflections on the Judgment. Joseph H. H. Weiler’s Dialogical Epilogue concludes the volume by placing the main findings of the book in a wider European and international law perspective. 

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Table of contents (21 chapters)

  1. Introduction

Editors and Affiliations

  • Faculty of Law, Lille Catholic University, Lille, France

    Valentina Volpe

  • Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg, Germany

    Anne Peters

  • Tuscia University, Viterbo, Italy

    Stefano Battini

About the editors

Valentina Volpe, Associate Professor of Public Law and International Law, Lille Catholic University and Senior Research Affiliate, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg

Anne Peters, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg and Professor of International Law, Heidelberg, Freie Universität Berlin, Basel (Switzerland) Universities, and University of Michigan

Stefano Battini, President of the Italian National School for Public Administration, Rome and Professor of Administrative Law, Tuscia University, Viterbo

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