Recent developments in German case law on compensation for violations of international humanitarian law
Host item entries:
German yearbook of international law, Vol. 57, 2014, p. 613-631
The individual right to compensation for violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) remains a contentious one. The reluctance of States to accept international obligations to compensate individual victims of armed conflict means that remedies for violations of IHL appear to be confined to the inter-State level. However recent decisions of domestic courts may have given new impetus to the development of an individual right to compensation. In this article Philipp Stöckle examines a 2013 decision by the German Federal Constitutional Court which, although it dismissed the claim, strengthened judicial control over executive conduct during armed conflict. He then analyses two decisions by regional courts which, although dismissing the claims as well, declared that German rules of governmental liability were applicable to violations of IHL. He concludes that even though these cases were domestic ones, they are still likely to affect the international debate on compensation for victims of armed conflict.