Riedl-Riedenstein et al. v Germany, UN Human Rights Committee (2003)(excerpts)

Riedl-Riedenstein et al. v Germany, UN Human Rights Committee Communication 1188/2003 (excerpts)


7.3 The Committee notes the authors' claim that the German courts' dismissal of their compensation claim, in the proceedings concerning the IG Farben stocks, on the ground that they did not contact their former estate manager before the statutory deadline (31 December 1964) for filing a validation claim, was arbitrary and in violation of their rights under article 14, paragraph 1, in conjunction with article 26, of the Covenant, given the uncertainty about the latter's knowledge of the existence of the stocks. It recalls its constant jurisprudence that it is generally for the courts of States parties to the Covenant to review facts and evidence, or the application of domestic legislation, in a particular case, unless it can be shown that such evaluation or application was clearly arbitrary or amounted to a denial of justice, or that the court otherwise violated its obligation of independence and impartiality. (3) The Committee notes that the German courts based their finding that the authors had breached their duty of care, inter alia, on the assumption that it would have been the normal conduct for anyone who, as the first author, claimed to have known of the existence of the stocks since 1944, to inquire about their whereabouts upon receipt, in 1962, of a confiscation transcript that made no mention of them, as well as on their failure to inquire into the possible existence of other evidence of said stocks (e.g. by checking with the family's former bank in Karlsbad for proof of their purchase). It further notes that the Frankfurt Regional Court dismissed the authors' compensation claim not only on grounds of their unexcused failure to provide evidence of the IG Farben stocks before 31 December 1964, but also because they had not plausibly established their ownership of the stocks. In these circumstances, the Committee concludes that the authors have failed to substantiate, for purposes of admissibility, any arbitrariness on the part of the German courts; this part of the communication is therefore inadmissible under article 2 of the Optional Protocol.