Through this decision, the Supreme Court of Cassation came back to the issue of Italian jurisdiction in civil proceedings brought against Germany by Italian nationals to obtain compensation for damages suffered in consequence of Nazi war crimes committed on Italian territory. The Italian jurisdiction was initially asserted by the Court of Cassation (Ferrini case of 2004), and subsequently denied as an effect of the decision issued in 2012 by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the case Jurisdictional Immunities of the State (Germany v. Italy), according to which Italy has no jurisdiction over Germany under general international law. However, the Italian Constitutional Court has prevented Italian judges to decide the relevant cases in conformity with the ICJ decision, because the latter infringes certain fundamental values of the Italian constitutional order (judgment No. 238/2014). In the case decided by the Court of Cassation through decision No. 762 of 2017, Germany was asked to indemnify the heirs of Duilio Cerbai who was deported in Germany at the end of the second World War and there subjected to forced labor. The Court annulled a previous Appeal Court’s decision, which had upheld Germany exception about the lacking of Italian jurisdiction and, thus, making application of the principles affirmed by the Constitutional Court in 2014.
Judgment of the International Court of Justice, 3 February 2012, Jurisdictional Immunities of the State (Germany v. Italy: Greece intervening); Law No. 5 of 14 January 2013, Accession of the Republic of Italy to the UN Convention on Jurisdictional Immunities of States and Their Property, done in New York on 2 December 2004, and norms for adapting the domestic legal system; Order of the Court of Cassation, United Sections, No. 4284 of 21 February 2013; Decision of the Constitutional Court No. 238 of 22 October 2014