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Germany

EU Court Rejects GDR Compensation Claims

The European Court of Human Rights on Wednesday threw out claims by 68 Germans that they should be better compensated for land in former East Germany that was redistributed at the end of World War II. The plaintiffs -- 68 Germans, one Swedish national and two entities incorporated under German law -- had petitioned the court, saying that their property rights had been violated by the post-1945 land expropriations. They claimed that the indemnification and compensation act passed in Germany on September 27, 1994 -- four years after the country's reunification -- did not offer them compensation in line with fair market property values. But the Strasbourg court declared the claims inadmissible, ruling that Germany could not be held responsible for the expropriations. "The FRG (Federal Republic of Germany) did not have any responsibility for acts committed at the instigation of the Soviet occupying forces or for those perpetrated by another State against its own nationals, even though the GDR (ex-East Germany) had subsequently been succeeded by the FRG," the court said. By finding in favor of Berlin in the case, the European rights court confirmed a November 2000 ruling of Germany's Federal Constitutional Court.

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