Sat, Sep. 03, 2005

Soldier with Conscience

CK - Washington.   In a complex ruling in the matter BVerwG 2WD 12.0-4 of June 21, 2005, the Federal Supreme Court for Administrative Law, Bundesverwaltungsgericht, in Leipzig determined that

(1) the U.S./U.K. war in Iraq violates international law; and
(2) a German soldier's refusal to follow orders to support that war is proper.

The court explained, among other issues, that a soldier's duty to follow orders is not unlimited. The soldier's exercize of conscience deserves respect by the law, while a law that supports an illegal war does not.

The soldier had refused to assist German NATO operations in support of the war which Germany based on NATO statutes that the court considered constitutional.

The just published decision clarifies that the soldier's conscience and the nation's constitution require no balancing because the soldier's decision did not affect the nation's ability to pass constitutional laws.

Nazi Persecution Through the End

CK - Washington.   Political persecution by a regime continues until a regime ends its hostile attitude towards the persecuted or is itself ended, the Federal Supreme Court for Administrative Law, Bundesverwaltungsgericht, in Leipzig held on August 25, 2005.

The decision in the matter BVerG 7C19.04 reverses a lower court decision which understood persecution to end, with respect to the statute for the recovery of property lost to the Nazis or sold under pressure of political persecution, when the government returned expropriated property to its owner. In the case at bar, the Nazi government had returned the property in 1934 but kept the pressure on the exile owner who sold the property in 1939.

In the court's view, the action for the recovery of the property may proceed, and the heirs of the original owner may prove their case based on the assumption that persecution of their father continued until the end of the Nazi regime in 1945.

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