Gypsy group to appeal against IBM case decision

A long-running lawsuit brought against IBM by a group representing Gypsy victims of the Holocaust has been dismissed, though the...

A long-running lawsuit brought against IBM by a group representing Gypsy victims of the Holocaust has been dismissed, though the Swiss court which threw out the case may not have the last word on it if a planned appeal goes through.

At the end of last month, the court dismissed the $12bn lawsuit against IBM, arguing a lack of evidence for Geneva as a place of jurisdiction, according to the Gypsy International Recognition Compensation Action (GIRCA) group, which launched the legal action in February 2002.

Despite the dismissal, GIRCA will make an appeal to the Geneva Court of Justice, the next highest court, by the end of this month, according to Henri-Philippe Samuc, a lawyer representing GIRCA. "We found the decision disappointing and plan to contest it," Samuc said.

GIRCA argues that IBM established a non-registered operation in Geneva called International Business Machines Corporation New York, European Headquarters and that this organisation is well documented  in the book IBM and the Holocaust; The Strategic Alliance Between Nazi Germany and America's Most Powerful Corporation, by Edwin Black.

In the book, Black argues that IBM and its subsidiaries provided the punchcard data processing systems, known as Hollerith machines, that allowed Nazis to categorise and track concentration camp victims and that IBM was aware of how its equipment was being used.

IBM, which had little to say about the lawsuit over the past year, said little about the court decision and prospects of an appeal. "We have felt all along that these charges were unwarranted and that remains our position," said Brian Doyle, a company spokesman.

John Blau writes for IDG News Service

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