Rachele Marconi

The (Colonial) Past that Does Not Pass: The 2021 Joint Declaration on Reconciliation Between Germany and Namibia

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: genocide; historical crimes; reparation; inter-state negotiations; non-binding international agreements; victims’ participation.

The 2021 Joint Declaration between Germany and Namibia, dealing with the 1904-08 Herero and Nama genocide, marks the first time a former colonial power engages in an agreement to recognise its colonial crimes. The Declaration is the result of 5-year interstate negotiations between Germany and Namibia. However, the descendants of the victims have strongly criticised the negotiation process for failing to involve representatives from the most affected communities and the final agreement for rejecting the legal responsibility of Germany. The Article analyses the Declaration and the subsequent conduct of the two contracting parties in order to define its legal nature and effects both on the contracting parties and on the descendants of the victims. It is suggested that the noninclusion of the descendants of the victims may hamper the value of the Joint Declaration and true reconciliation between the parties

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