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International Court of Justice Ruling on Distomo Case

In an announcement, issued on February 3, concerning an International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling upholding Germany’s position, that it enjoys state immunity from being sued in foreign courts by victims of Nazi atrocities during World War II, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs states that the Greek government will study this Judgement closely, in the light of its firm and longstanding position that the matter of German compensations remains open.
The judgement affects the case of the south-central Greek village of Distomo, where Nazi troops killed 214 civilians on June 10, 1944, one of the numerous instances of WWII atrocities in occupied Greece. The court case concerned the confiscation of German property on Italian soil for reparations to be paid to victims of Distomo.

  • MPs Raise War Reparations Issue

Meanwhile, in Athens, 28 MPs from PASOK, New Democracy (ND), Radical Left Coalition (SYRIZA) as well as independent deputies tabled a motion in Parliament requesting a discussion on issues concerning the so-called German occupation loan from Greece during WWII, as well as the issue of war reparations to victims of Nazi atrocities and stolen treasures from the country.
In a letter addressed to the presidents of competent parliamentary committees, the MPs called on Parliament to adopt a clear stance on this “crucial national issue.”


Διάλεξη για την βενετοκρατούμενη Σητεία στο Πανεπιστήμιο Βαρσοβίας (23/2/2010)

Διάλεξη με θέμα «Η βενετοκρατούμενη Σητεία – Αρχειακή έρευνα για την ιστορία της πόλης» έδωσε η Γραμματέας Επικοινωνίας του Γραφείου Τύπου και Επικοινωνίας Βαρσοβίας, Μαρία Μονδέλου, στις 23 Φεβρουαρίου στο Πανεπιστήμιο Βαρσοβίας.
Πρόκειται για την δεύτερη διάλεξη που πραγματοποιείται ύστερα από πρόσκληση του Ινστιτούτου Διεπιστημονικών Σπουδών (Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies) “Artes Liberales” του Πανεπιστημίου της Βαρσοβίας, με πρωτοβουλία της καθηγήτριας Malgorzata Borowska, διευθύντριας του Τμήματος Νεοελληνικής Φιλολογίας.
Την διάλεξη παρακολούθησαν οι φοιτητές του Β΄ έτους της Νεοελληνικής Φιλολογίας, στο πλαίσιο του μαθήματος «Κρητικά αριστουργήματα της περιόδου της Αναγέννησης».
Παρουσιάστηκαν, αρχικά, τα κυριότερα χαρακτηριστικά της βενετικής κυριαρχίας στη Σητεία (πόλη και ύπαιθρος), κυρίως κατά την ύστερη περίοδο της Βενετοκρατίας (16ος και 17ος αι.), και αναλύθηκαν ορισμένοι από τους θεσμούς που εισήγαγε η Βενετία στην πόλη (διοικητική οργάνωση, εκκλησιαστικοί θεσμοί, δικαιοσύνη). Έγινε αναφορά, μεταξύ άλλων, στην κοινωνική διαστρωμάτωση της πόλης και της υπαίθρου, τις κοινωνικές σχέσεις, τα χαρακτηριστικά της οικονομίας, τη μορφή της πόλης και τον τρόπο ζωής των κατοίκων. Ιδιαίτερη μνεία έγινε στον καταγόμενο από την Σητεία Βιτσέντζο Κορνάρο, ποιητή του Ερωτόκριτου, έργο το οποίο αποτελεί αντικείμενο σπουδών των φοιτητών του Β΄ έτους.
Οι φοιτητές ενημερώθηκαν για τον τρόπο αναζήτησης ανέκδοτου αρχειακού υλικού σε Αρχεία και Βιβλιοθήκες της Ιταλίας, όπως το Κρατικό Αρχείο της Βενετίας, το Αρχείο του Βατικανού και η Μαρκιανή Βιβλιοθήκη της Βενετίας. Επισημάνθηκαν τα κυριότερα χαρακτηριστικά των πηγών (επίσημες πηγές, συμβολαιογραφικό αρχείο), καθώς και μερικά συμπεράσματα από τη μελέτη του υλικού, τα οποία παρουσιάζονται στην υπό εκπόνηση διδακτορική διατριβή της ομιλήτριας.
Τέλος, παρουσιάστηκαν στους φοιτητές αντίγραφα ανέκδοτων χειρογράφων της εποχής, τα οποία αναγνώστηκαν, με παράλληλη εξήγηση βασικών κανόνων  παλαιογραφίας. 

Professor Borowska, Maria Mondelou and the students

Lecture “The Venetian Dominion in Sitia (Crete) – Research on the history of the town” (University of Warsaw, 23/2/2010) 

A lecture about “The Venetian  Dominion in Sitia (Crete) – Research on the history of the town” was hold by the Press Attachè of the Embassy of Greece in Warsaw, Maria Mondelou, on the 23rd February at the University of Warsaw.
It was the second lecture that took place, after the one on the 8th of December 2009, following an invitation by the Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies “Artes Liberales” of the University of Warsaw and the director at the Department of Modern Greek Philology, Malgorzata Borowska.
The lecture was attended by the students of the 4th semester in Modern Greek Philology, that includes lessons on the subject “Cretan masterpieces of the Renaissance”.
Main aspects of the Venetian dominion in the territory of Sitia (town and villages), particularly during the late period of the Venetian dominion (16th and 17th centuries), as well as some of the institutions that Venice introduced in Sitia (administration, ecclesiastical institutions, justice etc.) were analysed. The social stratification in the town and the villages, the social relations, the characteristics of the economy, the form of the town and the way of life of the inhabitants were, also, described. A partiticular mention was made for Vitsentzos Kornaros, born in Sitia, famous for his poem “Erotokritos”, which is included in the studies of the Polish students.
The students were informed about the research of unpublished sources of archives, that was effected by the lecturer in Archives and Libraries in Italy, such as the National Archive of Venice, the Vatican Archives and the “Marciana”  Library of Venice. Main characteristics of the sources (official documents and notarial archives) were highlighted, as well as some of the results of the study, which are presented in the PhD of the lecturer.
Finally, copies of unedited documents of the 16th century were presented and read to the students.

Wykład na temat Sitii pod panowaniem weneckim, wygłoszony na Uniwersytecie Warszawskim (23/2/2010)

Wykład pod tytułem „Sitia, pod panowaniem weneckim – badanie archiwalne na temat historii miasta” został wygłoszony przez Marię Mondelou, Attaché Prasowego Ambasady Grecji w dniu 23 lutego na Uniwersytecie Warszawskim.
Był to już drugi wykład wygłoszony pod otrzymaniu zaproszenia przez Instytut Studiów Interdyscyplinarnych „Artes Liberales” z inicjatywy profesor dr hab. Małgorzaty Borowskiej, Kierownika Wydziału Filologii Nowogreckiej. 
Wykład został wysłuchany przez studentów II roku filologii nowogreckiej w ramach zajęć „Kreteńskie arcydzieła okresu Odroczenia”.

New impetus for Greek-Turkish relations

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) A new impetus for Greek-Turkish relations was given yesterday following a letter by Prime Minister George Papandreou addressed to his Turkish counterpart, responding to prior correspondence between the two leaders.

The Greek side proposes the launch of a series of talks on the issue of the continental shelf, within a specific time limit and the option for both sides to resort to the International Court of Justice in The Hague in case of a dead-end.
Papandreou deems the Turkish proposal of establishing a High-level Council of Cooperation important and invites Recep Tayyip Erdogan to pay an official visit to Greece, sometime before summer, in order to set a time framework.
Moreover, the Greek Premier highlights the need for de-escalating tension over the Aegean Sea and stresses that military activity in the area must be avoided since it jeopardizes security and fuels tension. Referring to the pressure exercised on bilateral relations due to immigration flows’ movement, Papandreou reiterates the necessity for Turkey to abide by the Greek-Turkish Readmission Protocol (2001).
The premier concludes by expressing Greece’s support for Turkey’s European perspective, provided that the latter honours its obligations towards the Greek minority in Turkey and the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Greece-Turkey Bilateral Relations & Greek-Turkish Rapprochement
[Photo from Papandreou’s visit to Istanbul, Turkey, October, 2009]

Greece Mourns Death of Youth

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   A tragic incident took place on Saturday night, when a teenager was shot by a police officer. Due process is being followed: the two people responsible for this act of violence have been brought to justice. One of them is charged with premeditated manslaughter, and the second with complicity. The whole of Greece in one voice, be it the government, the opposition, and the people themselves, expressed its condemnation of the tragic incident of Saturday night. Some isolated extremist groups tried to take advantage of this spontaneous expression of sorrow and transformed it into acts of vandalism of public and private property in downtown Athens.In a condolence letter to the boy’s parents on Sunday, Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis promised the state would do everything in its power to prevent such a tragedy from occurring again. Early aftermoon, the premier made the following statement:

“As every Greek, I feel deep sorrow for the unfair loss of the young pupil. At such difficult times, my thought is with his friends and family. I know that there is nothing that can soothe their pain. However, I want to assure everyone that the State will spare no effort to render justice. The culprits will receive the punishment they deserve. Each and every Greek can rest assure that the State will do anything in its power for this tragedy not to be repeated in the future. At this point, everyone has a part to play: The government first and foremost, along with all political forces, the youth and the rest of the society. It is unfortunate that extremist elements have taken advantage of the tragic event to serve their own purposes. With everything that they perpetrated, especially yesterday, it becomes obvious that their sole motive was bare violence and that their aim mere destruction. Once again, their acts turned against innocent people and their properties, therefore against society as a whole. In a State governed by law and democracy, the duty of the government, of any government, is to protect society. Those unacceptable and dangerous incidents occurred, under the cover of the commotion stirred by this tragic event must not and will not be tolerated again. The State will protect the citizens, it will protect society. I have asked the Minister of Economy and Finance to explore every possibility in order, for our co-citizens whose property was destroyed or damaged, to be immediately and fully indemnified. There are specific proposals already tabled which will be further elaborated in the coming days by the competent ministries involved. Life is the supreme good. Its loss is irreplaceable. May the stance of each and every one of us pay tribute to the memory of Alexis.” 
President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias also sent a telegram expressing the state’s condolences to the parents. “I express by deepest anguish for the loss of your son. His death was a wound to the operation of the state of law. I hope that it is the last and I am certain that those to blame will be held responsible,” Papoulias said in his message.  During a news conference on Sunday, Interior Minister, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, said, “It is inconceivable for there not to be punishment when a person, let alone a minor, loses their life.” He added: “The loss of life is something that is inconceivable in a democracy.”  Pavlopoulos tendered his resignation soon after the incident, but the premier did not accept it.  Athens News Agency: PM promises ‘no leniency’ over boy’s death