State Liability for the Herero Genocide in German South-West Africa (Namibia)

6 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2006

See all articles by Stefan Kirchner

Stefan Kirchner

University of Lapland, Arctic Centre


In recent years German and international courts have heard several high-profile cases involving compensation claims for German violations of international humanitarian law in the past. Compensation has been denied for the massacre committed in Distomo (Greece) during the German occupation of Greece in World War II as well as with regard to NATO's aerial bombardment of a bridge in the Serbian town of Vavarin during Operation Allied Force in 1999 in which civilians were killed. More than a century after German forces committed genocide against the Herero people in Namibia, the victims' descendants still have not yet received adequate compensation. In this paper we examine the historical background of the Herero case and the German law of state liability applicable to the case, which essentially is the same law which also applies to the Distomo massacre.

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Kirchner, Stefan, State Liability for the Herero Genocide in German South-West Africa (Namibia). Available at SSRN: or

Stefan Kirchner (Contact Author)

University of Lapland, Arctic Centre ( email )

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Rovaniemi, Lapland 96101
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