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European Court docket Backs Germany in Case Over 2009 Killings of Afghan Civilians

BERLIN — The European Court docket of Human Rights dominated on Tuesday in favor of Germany in a dispute with Afghan civilians who challenged the nation’s investigation right into a 2009 assault on oil tankers in Afghanistan that killed as many as 90 civilians.

The court docket, based mostly in Strasbourg, France, dominated that the German investigation into the bombing didn’t violate the European human rights conference.

On the evening of the assault, Sept. three, 2009, Taliban fighters hijacked two tankers carrying NATO gasoline after which acquired caught on a sandbank within the Kunduz River, about 4 miles from the NATO base within the northern metropolis of Kunduz.

Col. Georg Klein, a German who on the time was commander of the NATO base in Kunduz, known as in U.S. army planes to bomb the tankers, saying that he believed that solely insurgents had been within the space and that he feared the Taliban may use the tankers to hold out assaults. However dozens of native Afghans had swarmed the tankers, invited by the Taliban to siphon off gasoline.

A German Military investigation later decided that as many as 90 civilians had been killed. On the time of the assault, Germany was broadly criticized by its companions in Afghanistan, and the occasions plunged the nation into a bitter debate in regards to the function of its army forces throughout peacetime.

However over the previous decade, German prosecutors have declined to press expenses towards the commander, and courts have upheld the choice and denied survivors the suitable to demand compensation from the federal government.

Abdul Hanan, whose sons, Abdul Bayan, 12, and Nesarullah, eight, had been killed within the 2009 airstrike, introduced the case earlier than the European court docket after a number of lawsuits within the German judicial system.

“They martyred 100 folks, they bombed us unjustly, so how can they arrive to this unjust resolution?” Mr. Hanan, a farmer, stated by phone from Kunduz after he realized of the court docket’s ruling.

“Is our blood value lower than the blood of a German?” stated Mr. Hanan, who has eight different youngsters. He stated he had anticipated the court docket to rule in his favor and to grant him and different relations extra funds.

“I needed the court docket to supply justice, to have mercy on us,” he stated.

He accused the commander of failing to sufficiently examine the potential risk posed to civilians earlier than ordering the strike and argued that Germany had protected Colonel Klein and others he claimed had been liable for masking up the airstrike.

He additionally claimed that he lacked a path to problem the choice of Germany’s federal prosecutor to drop an investigation final 12 months towards the colonel.

Instantly after the assault, the German authorities paid $5,000 in compensation to households of civilian who had been killed or significantly injured. However Mr. Hanan sought additional damages in addition to recognition of Germany’s failure to guard Afghan civilians.

In 2018, Germany’s high civil court docket dominated that, below worldwide legislation, a state was not obligated to pay out compensation to people. The court docket additionally discovered that the state couldn’t be held answerable for cases of dereliction of responsibility by troopers serving on overseas missions.

The European court docket discovered that the federal prosecutor’s resolution to drop an investigation into the commanding normal was justified “as a result of he had been satisfied, on the time of ordering the airstrike, that no civilians had been current” on the assault website.

The German Parliament held a public investigation into the bombing, which has additionally been challenged in a number of German courts.

The European court docket’s ruling comes because the Biden administration is debating whether or not to honor a deal that President Donald J. Trump struck with the Taliban final 12 months. Germany entered Afghanistan alongside its NATO allies in 2001, and as much as 1,300 of its troops are nonetheless serving there with 2,500 U.S. counterparts.

David Zucchino contributed reporting from Kabul.

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