NSU Trial

The NSU trial is the trial to assess the guilt of Beate Zschäpe and the four possible accomplices of the NSU. The NSU, the National Socialist Underground, was a neonzai organisation involved in a total of 10 killings (8 Turks, one Greek and one police officer) and 15 robberies. The two main perpetrators, Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt, have committed suicide after being chased by the police following a failed robbery. Zschäpe was intimately acquainted with these two men and the court holds that she was their accomplice.

The trial started on 6 May 2013 in Room A101 before the State Security Division of the Higher Regional Court of Munich's Nymphenburg road.

So far, ten court days have taken place.


Main players:

  • Judge Manfred Götzl
  • Federal prosecutor Herbert Diemer
  • The accused Beate Zschäpe (b. 2 January 1975 in Jena). The Federal Prosecutor accuses her of complicity in ten murders, two bomb attacks and 15 robberies.
  • Zschäpe's Defense: Wolfgang Heer, Wolfgang Stahl and Anja Sturm
  • Accused of complicity:
    • André Eminger (b. 1 August 1979 in Erlabrunn/Sachsen). The indictment accuses him of aiding and abetting any of the accused bomb attacks and assistance in robbery. In addition, Eminger has allegedly rented an RV for the terrorist cell.
    • Eminger's lawyer is Herbert Hedrich.
    • Carsten Schultz (b. 6 February 1980 in New Delhi). The indictment accuses Schultz of accessory to murder on nine counts. He and Wohlleben have allegedly delivered the murder weapon "Ceska" for the killings.
    • Schultz's attorney is Johannes Pausch
    • Holger Gerlach (b. 14 May 1974 in Jena). The indictment accuses Gerlach of supporting a terrorist organization. He is said to have carried a weapon to a trio to Zwickau.
    • Gerlach's lawyers: Stefan Hachmeister and Pajam Rokni-Yazdi
    • Ralf Wohlleben (b. 27 February 1975 in Jena). Wohlleben also played an important role in the immersion. He is accused of accesory to murder on nine counts.
    • Wohlleben's lawyers are Olaf Klemke and Nicole Schneider
  • Bundestag member Hans-Christian Stroebele
  • Lawyer Alexander Hoffmann, who represents the injured from the Cologne nail bomb of 2004.

Indictment:

You can read the indictment here.

Zschäpe is accused of complicity "in the murder of eight citizens of Turkish and a fellow citizen of Greek origin, the attempted murder of two police officers in Heilbronn as well as involvement in the attempted murders by the bombings of the 'NSU' in the old town of Cologne in Cologne-Mülheim".

Zschäpe is also accused of "setting her apartment in Zwickau on fire, and thereby committed an offense because of another attempted murder of a neighbor and two artisans and of very serious arson"

The victims' aid lawyer speaks of institutional racism.

According to the defense Zschäpe is not guilty of complicity in the killings of the NSU. The Higher Regional Court of Munich called to ease Zschäpe's detention facilities in January 2013, because the NSU no longer existed and therefore the detainee could no longer have supported the group.

The attorney general believes that Zschäpe was "a kind of emotional core of this group". So says the Deputy Attorney General Rainer Griesbaum. "From our investigation we can conclude that she was a major influence as to the financial arrangements within the group and that she had a strong presence but was also the ideology of the group."

This is the dilemma of the defense: If their client shows no regrets and remains true to her ideology, then making a statement would be dangerous because it would confirm the allegations. Her remaining silent, however, threatens to put her behind bars on account of the evidence. [1]


Progress:

Because of the dispute over the press seats the trial already started almost three weeks later than planned [2]. There were only 50 seats, which were awarded by lottery. Subsequently, the Munich High Court ordered a new space allocation by lottery on, the 50 permanent seats were divided into three different quotas: for news agencies (five seats), foreign media (10 seats) and domestic media (35 seats). [3]

The NSU trial has been interrupted on the first day for a week. Reason of bias of the defense. [2]

Zschäpe's defenders reject Götzl as a judge. Their grounds are that he is biased. Götzl had ordered that the defenders are to be searched for weapons before entering the courtroom - but not representative of the Attorney General, police officers or court staff. The defender Wolfgang Stahl complained that the defense would be burdened with the suspicion of "participating in forbidden and ultimately criminal acts", which is "discriminatory". [4] This was to prevent the lawyers - perhaps unwittingly - bring weapons or prohibited items into the hall [5].

On Monday, alleged accomplice Beate Zschäpe has taken place in the defense box for the first time while the indictment has not even been read before the break [2].

Separation of the trial: In June 2004, the Cologne Keupstraße is hit by a nail bomb. This incident may be treated separated on account of the large number of witnesses and victims involved. [6]

A handful of defense lawyers sit opposite a "phalanx" of 70 aid lawyers, which makes a fair trial impossible. [7]

In the trial of the alleged right-wing terrorist Beate Zschäpe, the federal prosecutor has read the indictment on Tuesday the 14th May. According to this, the defendant was an "integral part" of the NSU trio. In carrying out these crimes, the accused Zschäpe was involved "with those involved in planning and preparing", "to cover up the travel tracks of Böhnhardt and Mundlos and to create a safe refuge". [8]

In the first four days, the court could not proceed to the evidence. It's still only a matter of questions who may speak when and if the Chairman has the right to speak first to the defenders if the round of requests proceeds into statements from the lawyers. So it goes back and forth, request, comment, interruption, decision. And the whole thing starts over. [9]

The fourth day was also the last one in the trial before a nearly three-week break over the Whitsun holidays in Bavaria. The procedure continued on the 4th June. [10]

Of the 85 court days Judge Manfred Götzl had tentatively scheduled until mid-January 2014, seven are already deleted. That the list of witnesses became too narrow, is also evident. [11]

After the break, the proceedings have continued weekly between Tuesdays and Thursdays. Up til now, only Schultz and Gerlach have spoken out.


Press ban?

The Senate denies the request to record witness statements in audio or video. Also, Götzl won't have a transcript either. The argument Götzl brought forth is the "search for truth": The Court should prevent that witnesses or other persons providing information would be exposed to circumstances that could affect their testimony. [11]


Sources:
[1] http://www.welt.de/print/welt_kompakt/print_politik/article116282761
[2] http://www.welt.de/print/welt_kompakt/article115948548/
[3] http://www.welt.de/politik/deutschland/article115707938/
[4] http://www.welt.de/print/welt_kompakt/article115948526/
[5] http://www.welt.de/politik/deutschland/article116071274/
[6] http://www.welt.de/politik/deutschland/article116199422/
[7] http://www.welt.de/debatte/kommentare/article116228302/
[8] http://www.welt.de/print/die_welt/article116193784/
[9] http://www.welt.de/politik/deutschland/article116228430/
[10] http://www.welt.de/politik/deutschland/article116085023/
[11] http://www.welt.de/politik/deutschland/article116240406/