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New York court dismisses reparation appeal

New York court dismisses reparation appeal

Marthina Mutanga

A COURT of appeal in the United States of America has deferred an appeal launched by the Nama and Ovaherero people of Namibia, stating that it does not have the jurisdiction to sue the German Government.


On 24 September 2020, a panel of judges in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a written opinion affirming the lower court’s earlier dismissal of the case on jurisdictional grounds.


The Ovaherero and Nama people launched the court process to sue Germany to include them in the current reparation payment negotiations between the German and Namibian governments concerning the 1904-1908 genocide.


In their judgement, the presiding panel of judges stated that the terrible wrongs elucidated in plaintiffs’ complaint must be addressed through a vehicle other than the US court system.


After the lower court dismissed their case in March last year, the Paramount Chief of the Ovaherero People, Advocate Vekuii Rukoro said their quest for Restorative Justice is a “marathon and not a hundred-meter dash.”


“In its decision, the court accepted as a given fact that the Ovaherero and Nama people were subject to a genocide,” said Rukoro, added that their legal team, headed by Nokokure Kenneth F. McCallion, is busy seeking a rehearing.


“Congressman John Lewis said it best when he said do not get lost in the sea of despair. Be hopeful, be optimistic. Our struggle is not the struggle of a day, a week, a month, or a year, it is the struggle of a lifetime. Never ever be afraid to make some noise and get in good trouble, necessary trouble,” said Rukoro.


Rukoro added that as a direct descendant of great-grandparents who were murdered by Germany, they shall “forever be in good trouble, necessary trouble, in demanding Restorative Justice for the Ovaherero and Nama peoples.”


Rukoro appealed to Germans who understand the atrocities committed by their ancestors to also engage in what he calls “good trouble and necessary trouble” with their government.


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