New York – A court in New York on Thursday conducted the first hearing on a Namibian genocide suit filed against Germany by the Herero and Nama indigenous people.
The hearing in U.S. District Court which lasted for about 10 minutes entered hearing in the case.
It has been over 100 years after the end of German colonial rule in the country known today as Namibia.
There was, however, no representative of the German government at the proceedings.
Kenneth McCallion, a lawyer representing the indigenous groups, said he was surprised that no one from Germany had appeared.
According to him, the indigenous people in the southern African country are simply asking for a place at the table in order to participate.
Germany, which in 2016 recognised the killings as genocide, is currently negotiating with Namibia on an official apology.
The Foreign Ministry said the negotiations were taking place in an atmosphere of mutual trust and were constructive.
It said the government had not been summoned to the proceedings in New York.
The Herero and Nama people have accused Germany of excluding their representatives from the talks, and complained about Berlin having ruled out direct compensation to victims’ descendants.
The next hearing is scheduled to take place in July, however, it may come up sooner if Germany participates.
About 300,000 Herero and Nama groups presently live in Namibia.
Their descendants had in January sued Germany regarding the killing of more than 100,000 people from 1904 to 1908, when the Herero and Nama rebelled against colonial rule.
“German troops killed an estimated 65,000 of the 80,000 Herero and at least 10,000 of the 20,000 Nama in Namibia,’’ historians said.
The lawsuit refers to more than 100,000 deaths.