US court dismisses Namibia genocide claim
Publish date: 11 March 2019
Issue Number: 814
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
A US court has dismissed a lawsuit seeking to require Germany to pay damages over genocide and property seizures by colonists in Namibia (formerly South-West Africa) more than a century ago. Manhattan Judge Laura Taylor Swain 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. Kenneth McCallion, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said he would discuss his clients’ legal options with them. A report on the EWN site notes that the plaintiffs claim thousands of Herero and Nama were slaughtered, left to starve or died at concentration camps from 1904 to 1908 after the tribes rebelled against German rule. A 1985 UN report called the 'massacre' of Hereros a genocide, and Germany has in recent years negotiated with Namibia’s Government over the claims.