Germany has won a battle, not the war: Rukoro

07 Mar 2019 17:10pm
WINDHOEK, 07 MAR (NAMPA) – The dismissal of a lawsuit seeking to require Germany to pay damages over genocide meted out against the Nama and Ovaherero communities more than a century ago is “a mere victory in a battle as the war is far from over”.
These were the sentiments of Ovaherero Paramount Chief, Advocate Vekuii Rukoro when he addressed the media on the ruling in which US Judge Laura Taylor Swain dismissed the case on Wednesday.
Swain said Germany was immune from claims by descendants of the Ovaherero and Nama tribes, which deprives her of jurisdiction over its role in the genocide.
Briefing local journalists, Rukoro seemed unfazed by the ruling, saying the judge made fundamental errors in her jurisdictional analysis.
He said their lawyers would immediately appeal the ruling and ensure that it is reversed.
The lawyers will appeal through the appeals court. If this does not work, Rukoro promised to take their appeal up to US Supreme Court.
The lawyer and traditional leader told reporters the war they have declared against the German authorities “has just started.”
He went on to say they have the willpower, determination and capacity to intensify the struggle diplomatically and politically.
“We can even actively encourage those who are occupying our ancestral lands illegally to simply remove their farms off our lands so that we can ultimately achieve true justice and not these phony arrangements that we have seen through half-hearted measures of our government,” the paramount chief threatened, as the crowd in attendance applauded.
He added: “People must understand that for us, this is a battle that we have lost but the war is still out there to be won and we have every intention to win that war.”
The primary plaintiffs in the case are Rukoro and the late chairperson of the Nama Traditional Authorities Association, Chief David Frederick, representing those indigenous people in Namibia and elsewhere.
Rukoro could not say how much they have spent so far on legal costs and traveling, but is certain that one day “Germany will foot that bill.”
Over 100 000 Ovaherero and Nama were killed as a result of a mass extermination policy initiated by German colonial troops between 1904 and 1908.
Meanwhile, Namibia and Germany are engaged in state-to-state negotiations on the genocide issue.