The Paramount Chief of the Ovaherero Traditional Authority intends to appeal against the dismissal of the Herero and Nama lawsuit to claim damages from Germany.
A New York District Judge Laura Taylor Swain ruled that claims by descendants of the Herero and Nama tribes over Germany’s role in what some historians call the twentieth century’s first genocide could not proceed in her jurisdiction.
Rukoro said after the ruling on Wednesday that the District Judge made fundamental errors in her analysis and that the OTA would ensure the decision was reversed on appeal.
“We have directed our lawyers in New York to proceed with the appeal process immediately. We intend to have our day in court.
He said the OTA lawyers will appeal through the U.S. appeals court and if they fail in their efforts the Paramount Chief promised to take their appeal to that country’s Supreme Court.
Rukors said the war the OTA have declared against the German authorities was just starting. He said they have the willpower, determination and capacity to intensify the struggle diplomatically and politically.
The OTA claims that thousands of Herero and Nama were slaughtered, left to starve or died in concentration camps from 1904 to 1908, when Namibia was a German colony.
A 1985 United Nations report called the uneven war between the German colonial forces and the rebelling Hereros and Namas a massacre and genocide.
In recent years Germany acknowledged responsibility for the war but continues to avoid an official apology to ward off compensation claims.
According to a Reuters report the German foreign ministry said the U.S. court decision reinforces Germany’s position that it is immune from claims by descendants of the Namas and Hereros under U.S. jurisdiction.
The Namibian and German governments have been locked in negotiations on the subject of reparations for many years. The discussions are aimed at finding a common position on Germany’s colonial past.
Germany recently repatriated several skulls and other remains of massacred tribes-people used in the colonial era back to Namibia.
Germany, which lost all its colonial territories after World War One, was the third biggest colonial power after Britain and France.