THE BLOG

Torture Victims Win Case Against UK, But WWII Greek Victims Still Await Justice

Congratulations to the three Mau Mau Kenyan torture victims who recently won a landmark victory of immense global repercussions against their former colonizers, the UK.

Kudos to the honorable judges of Britain's High Court for their brave decision which will open wide the floodgates for all the unsettled cases of atrocities committed against human beings around the world to seek justice.

Undoubtedly this decision will generate a lot of opposition from the British government which probably will try to stop it before or during court proceedings but the mere fact that such a case was honored and decided by a legal institution as the Britain's High Court, it is already a huge victory not only for the three Mau Mau torture victims but for all the victims of atrocities.

Though this case has a long way to go until any actual compensation for the victims is realized, undoubtedly it has opened a huge Pandora's Box which, together with the case won by the Aborigines of Australia few years ago, raises many disturbing questions related to the fairness and distribution of justice by the highly politicized international legal system and the United Nations itself.

During WWII, Greece was firstly attacked by Mussolini's Italy, which resulted to substantial damages and immediately after the failure of Mussolini to invade and occupy Greece, Hitler's Germany attacked the country from the north and despite the heroic efforts of the Greek army, after months of fierce resistance, the superiority of the German army broke the Greek army's line of defense, invaded and occupied Greece for almost five years

Immediately after the invasion, the Germans instituted a system of detention, torture and executions resulting into the worse atrocities Greeks ever experienced during their entire glorious history of existence as a nation. Soon the Greek Resistance Movement was born and started to fight the occupiers but the Germans reacted to this movement with harsher measures by declaring that for every German occupier killed by the resistance, one town would be burned and its inhabitants executed.

Indeed the Germans kept that promise, and reduced to ashes thousands of towns all over Greece and executed their inhabitants, mainly women, children and elderly, in the town plazas.

The end of the brutal occupation found Greece with several hundred-thousand lost lives -- mostly innocent civilians and the productivity facilities as well as infrastructure in a pile of debris.

While Greeks were dying by the thousands every day of starvation, the occupiers forced Greece to make available a $3 billion loan which till now remains unpaid!

Every Greek town is decorated with monuments where the names of the innocent victims are engraved with black letters, serving as a clear evidence of documented crimes. Certainly some of the Nazi criminals were punished for their dreadful atrocities but unfortunately the names of the victims on the monuments are still crying and waiting for their long delayed justice.

Despite all the above, Greeks, loyal to their deeply rooted civilized values and love for peace, soon forgave the Germans, re-established friendships and harmonious relationship, etc., but that doesn't mean that Greece ever waived the demands for war compensations and repayment of loans.

Greeks must learn from cases like the Mau Mau to remind Germany and the United Nations International Courts of Justice that these cases are not to be treated lightly and be brushed aside. Germany never misses an opportunity to demand from erring nations compliance with the rule of law and instead exerting effort to frustrate the clamor for justice of a whole nation, must use the same moral values and compensate the Greeks.

It is incomprehensible how members of International Courts of Justice have brushed aside the grave Greek cases by justifying the penning on their decisions simply as "Lack of Merit" or "Lack of Jurisdiction"! Only a corrupt or incompetent legal system will resort to utilizing legal technicalities and deny justice to such cases with massive and compelling evidence.

However lately Germany instead of listening to the legitimate grievances of Greece, added insults to the feelings of the entire Greek population when informally branded them titles such as lazy, crooks, etc., which are totally untrue and baseless. Though ironically Germany in effect was rewarded lavishly for the crimes with the generous Marshall Plan, it is also undeniable fact that displaced by the war young and honest hardworking Greeks ironically became part of the cheap labor force which helped to build the German economy.

Oftentimes we watch and listen to UN officials, politicians and other legal personalities standing in front of a podium and trumpeting through a microphone about the observance of international legal obligations, the rule of law, honoring treaties, etc. but we have never seen them be enthusiastic to punish wrongdoing nations and deliver justice to countries with cases like Greece.

Therefore it is about time that Greece starts to demand worldwide publication of all court proceedings in order to find out what obscure legal methods were used by opponents to the legitimate claims of Greeks and start to correct the legal wrongs.

I hope the above will help all those who are criticizing Greece to understand that the demands are not fresh but immorally and scandalously long-delayed unsettled cases.

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