Kuzeeko Tjitemisa Windhoek-Berlin yesterday insisted the US district court has no jurisdiction over an independent state, saying it rejected the court summons that was served on it last year, based on the principle of state immunity. This contradicts media reports that suggested the German government had accepted a court summons to appear in the United States Federal Court in New York in the class-action lawsuit for alleged crimes against humanity, which the Ovaherero and Nama people filed against it. The founding member of the US Association of the Ovaherero Genocide, Veraa Katuuo, and Ovaherero Chief, Advocate Vekuii Rukoro, had this week informed the media that the German government had accepted a court summons to appear in the United States Federal Court in New York in the class-action lawsuit. But Berlin through its embassy in Windhoek said “the Federal Republic of Germany rejected the service of this action – via the US State Department and the US Embassy Berlin – because the service of the complaint on foreign State violates the principle of ‘State Immunity’ –a core principle of public international law.” According to this principle domestic courts do not have jurisdiction over sovereign acts of foreign states. Berlin says that in following the United States law of procedure, Germany has informed the court about Germany’s legal position in writing. Beyond that, Berlin said, Germany never comments on any pending legal action against Germany. “This applies to the case in question.” The Ovaherero and Nama people filed a lawsuit on January 5, 2017, suing Germany for excluding them from current negotiations between the German and Namibian governments concerning the 1904-1908 genocide committed on Namibian soil. The initiators of the legal challenge are Ovaherero Chief, Advocate Rukoro, as representative of the Ovaherero Traditional Authority (OTA), the Chief and Chairman of the Nama Traditional Authorities Association, David Frederick, and the Association of the Ovaherero Genocide in the USA. Frederick, the !Aman Traditional Authority chief of Bethanie, died last Friday. Meanwhile, descendants of the 1904-08 Nama and Ovaherero genocide victims, supporters and sympathisers convened in Okahandja this past weekend to pray for good fortune ahead of the federal class-action lawsuit in New York. The Ovaherero-Ovambanderu Genocide Foundation (OGF) had invited Namibians to Okahandja to pray for blessings ahead of the court hearing.
2018-01-18 09:01:14 8 months ago