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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 February, 2005, 17:34 GMT
Liechtenstein loses German claim
Snow covered mountains in principality of Liechtenstein
Most of the assets are owned by the principality's royal family
Liechtenstein's claim for millions in damages over a decades-old dispute with Germany has been thrown out by the International Court of Justice.

The tiny principality wanted recompense for assets it claims were handed by Germany to Czechoslovakia in 1945.

It says the assets, including castles and artworks, were used to pay off its debts after World War II.

But the court at The Hague, the UN's highest legal body, said the dispute was too old for it to deliver a ruling.

The court said on Thursday it was not competent to make a decision on the dispute because it dated back to 1945 - well before Liechtenstein and Germany agreed in 1980 that the ICJ should rule in arguments between them.

Most of the assets are being claimed by Liechtenstein's royal family, which wants millions in damages.

Liechtenstein was neutral during the war, but it says Germany improperly handed the property over to the Czechs as war reparations.

Berlin argues the assets were seized by Czechoslovakia after the German defeat in 1945, and Germany was not responsible for that seizure.

Liechtenstein has had simmering disputes with Germany over the years.

One of the most recent was sparked by a leaked German intelligence report, alleging Liechtenstein was an international money-laundering centre.

Country profile: Liechtenstein
25 Apr 01 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Liechtenstein
25 Apr 01 |  Europe

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