News from and about Ukraine & Ukrainians: Ukrainian Community Press Releases
BRAMA, February 7, 2002, 1 pm ET
Many Claimants Lack Sufficient Documentation
GENEVA, 7 February 2002 - Upon the expiration of the filing deadline on 31 December 2001 the International Organization for Migration (IOM) had received 14,000 completed claim forms and several thousand formless claims for property loss in the framework of the German Forced Labour Compensation Programme (GFLCP). "This figure by far exceeds the initial estimates," Dirk De Winter, the Director of the German Forced Labour Compensation Programme stresses and adds that, at this point in time it is impossible to say how many of these claims will be compensable.
The Property Claims Commission established under the German Foundation Act in Geneva in 2001 will now have to decide all the claims. A first review of the claims has shown that many lack documentation and that many claimants did not comply with the requirement to file their claim in one of the property loss programme's seven official languages. Although these circumstances will cause some delay, the Commission is still expected to decide all claims for property loss filed with IOM until the end of the year.
During the Property Claims Commission's recent session, the newly appointed German member of the Commission, Eberhard Hubrich, has taken up his duties. Eberhard Hubrich is a renowned expert on expropriated land and previous German compensation laws and a former Legal Advisor of the Federal Minister of Finances. Eberhard Hubrich is replacing Professor Gerold Herrmann, who had to give up his seat for health reasons. According to the German Foundation Act, the Commission consists of one member named by the State Department of the United States of America, one member named by the Finance Ministry of the Federal Republic of Germany and a chairperson chosen by those two members. The latter are Professor Richard M. Buxbaum from the USA and, as the Chairman of the Commission, the President of the Swiss Arbitration Association, Dr. Pierre A. Karrer.
As one of the partner organizations of the German Foundation "Responsibility, Remembrance and Future", IOM has been allocated 200 million DEM (approx. 102 million EUR) to compensate property loss. Persons who suffered property loss with the essential, direct and harm-causing participation of German enterprises during the National Socialist era were entitled to file a claim. Additionally, claimants must either have suffered property loss as a consequence of persecution for their race, political convictions, faith or ideology and have not been able to participate in previous German
Government compensation and restitution programmes, or claimants must have lost their property in connection with Nazi wrongs, but not because of persecution. Certain heirs as well as religious communities and religious organizations are also eligible to compensation.
IOM is gradually closing down its direct hotline and claimant assistance services in field offices around the world. All potential claimants who have contacted IOM before 31 December 2001 will receive a claim form and will be able to still submit their claim within three months. Claimants who have already sent a claim are asked to be patient and to refrain from queries regarding its status, in the interest of all claimants.
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