On 23 February 2021, an interesting PIL conclusion was published by AG Bobek at the Court of Justice EU. The case concerns a Polish citizen, former prisoner in Auschwitz (Poland), who took offence at an online article of a German newspaper in which Auschwitz was referred to as a ‘Polish extermination camp’. As we all know, Auschwitz was a extermination camp built by German Nazis during World War II in occupied Poland.
The Polish citizen claims, among other things, financial compensation from the Polish court. The question arises: does the Polish court have international jurisdiction? According to PIL jurisdiction rules, the case can be qualified as a tortious act pursuant to Article 7 (2) of the Brussels Ibis Regulation. Consequently, it must be examined on the basis of the criteria of the ‘centre of interests’ of the victim (introduced by the Court in the eDate case), whether this centre can be localised in Poland and whether the court there can assume jurisdiction.
The AG concluded, inter alia, that the Polish court may indeed assume jurisdiction, given the fact that the German publisher could have foreseen that someone in Poland would take offence at the statement ‘Polish death camp’ in an online article, which after all was published in German, which a language that is understood by many people outside of its national territory.
We now have to wait for the judgment of the Court of Justice, noting that in the past, the Court has not always followed AG Bobek’s guidance when it comes to the interpretation of jurisdiction rules in the context of international tort.
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