WINDHOEK- Lawyers representing the Ovaherero and Nama in the genocide lawsuit have filed a notice of appeal in the United State (US) Court of Appeals, following a dismissed class-action lawsuit filed by the two communities in the US Federal Court in New York for alleged crimes against humanity.
The appeals follow last week judgement by a U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain in Manhattan who said Germany was immune from claims by descendants of the Herero and Nama tribes, depriving her of jurisdiction over its role in what some historians have called the 20th century’s first genocide.
“The Notice is hereby given that the above-captioned plaintiffs, on behalf of themselves and all members of the Ovaherero and Nama people, hereby appeal to the United State Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from the District Court’s Opinion and Order dated and entered on March 6, 2019 (Doc.64),” reads the Notice of Appeal filled on Monday seen by New Era.
“Amended Notice is hereby given that the above-captioned plaintiffs, on behalf of themselves and all members of the Ovaherero and Nama people, hereby appeal to the United State Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit from the District Court’s Opinion and Order dated and entered on March 6, 2019 (Doc.64) and (b) the Judgement dated and entered on March 11, 2019 dismissing the Amended Complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction (Doc.66),” reads the amended notice.
Founding member of the US Association of the Ovaherero Genocide Veraa Katuuo yesterday told New Era that as plaintiff, he is disappointed in the judge’s erroneous ruling, which according to him was based on narrow interpretation of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act and, not on the merit of their complaint, which the German lawyer never challenged during the court proceedings.
“We knew from the beginning that this will be a marathon and, not a sprint,” he added.
“This is a unique and historical case, and through this process, we succeeded to educate the world about the Ovaherero and Nama genocide at the hands of German soldiers and, in the process put breaks on the so-called government to government genocide and reparation negotiations,” he stresses.
He said they are certainly encouraged that a United States court recently reinstated a lawsuit filed by the Holocaust survivors and their families against the government of Hungary.
“We are going to take advantage of every avenue available to us within the United States judicial system, and hold “mighty” Germany accountable for the crimes they have committed against the Nama and Ovaherero people,” said Katuuo.
The Ovaherero and Nama people filed a lawsuit on January 2017, suing Germany for excluding them from current negotiations between the German and Namibian governments concerning the 1904-1908 genocide committed here.
Up to 100,000 Herero and Nama are believed to have been killed by German imperial troops in the early 1900s in what was then the German colony of South-West Africa.
Meanwhile, the negotiations between the Namibian and the German governments about the genocide perpetrated in the former German colony South West Africa in 1904-1908 have just entered their third year.
The start of the negotiations in late 2015 marked a turning point after more than a century of German denialism. Successive German governments have refused to accept the atrocities as genocide.