The Ovaherero Traditional Authority (OTA) under the leadership of Paramount Chief Advocate Vekuii Rukoro is to take the German government to the International Tribunal in The Hague over the contentious genocide issue.
“The German government must now face the real prospect of a long drawn out arbitration proceeding at international level, with the potential of being declared an international pariah state, guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity,” said OTA chief information officer Bob Kandetu in a statement issued on Tuesday.
He said Germany has ignored all peaceful gestures of the Ovaherero and Nama traditional leaders to resolve the genocide and reparation issue through direct talks.
Kandetu said Namibia’s victim communities have given terms, through lawyers in London and New York, imploring the German government to respond by 1st May 2016 or face litigation through the International Tribunal in The Hague.
To this effect, he said, the Nama and Ovaherero will stop at nothing to prove every element of Germany’s crimes.
He said the leadership of the Ovaherero and Nama has after long contemplation resolved to take the bull by the horns.
“As you might recall that Paramount Chief Vekuii Rukoro had during 2014 given 2nd October 2015 as ultimatum by which Germany should respond on that country’s stance with regard to the Nama and Ovaherero genocide reparation drive,” he said.
Last year Rukoro informed Botswana President Ian Khama in his capacity as the chairperson of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) that the Ovaherero and Nama people are engaged in a demand for compensation from the German government for the genocide committed against their forebears during German imperial rule.
“It is high time that both SADC and the African Union (AU) take an active interest in the Namibian genocide and reparation issue, given the inflexibility of the executive branch of the German State, which refuses to even acknowledge that what happened to our ancestors constitutes an act of genocide,” Rukoro said during the commemoration of the late Kgosi (Chief) Tshekedi Khama at Pilikwe, Mahalapye East in the Central Region of Botswana. He called upon African leaders to place the Namibian genocide on the SADC and AU agendas with a view to passing resolutions that declare Germany as having committed a crime against humanity.
“The Ovaherero and Namas, who are today citizens of this country, are the direct descendants of those victims whom Chief Tshekedi Khama and other traditional leaders welcomed in their homes,” added Rukoro.
The Herero and Nama genocide was a campaign of racial extermination and collective punishment that the government of German South-West Africa (modern day Namibia) undertook against the Herero and Nama tribes.
It is considered to be the first genocide of the 20th century and took place between 1904 and 1907.