Judgment of the International Court of Justice, 3 February 2012, Jurisdictional Immunities of the State (Germany v. Italy: Greece intervening)

The ICJ’s judgment ruled against Italy for denying Germany’s immunity from civil jurisdiction in regard to claims for compensation of international crimes committed by Germany during World War II. It confirmed that in the light of existing customary international law there is no exception to State immunity in case of serious violations of international law or even jus cogens. Such argument was based on the distinction between the jus cogens, which are material norms prohibiting international crimes, and the customary rule on State immunity, which has a procedural nature and applies regardless of the gravity of the conduct. The ICJ’s ruling makes specific reference to the implementation of its judgment deciding that Italy must, by enacting appropriate legislation, or by resorting to other methods of its choosing, ensure that the decisions of its courts and those of other judicial authorities infringing the immunity which Germany enjoys under international law cease to have effect.