Finally: The indictment is read out in court
Presiding judge threatens that counts concerning the Cologne bombing attack in the Keupstraße could be severed
The trial hearing, which as reported had been interrupted again last week, today began with several defence motions for interruption or suspension of the hearing. Among the issues raised were the size of the courtroom and resulting cramped conditions, insufficient access of the public and the claim that the defence had not been given access to all documents pertaining to the second round of media accreditation. All but one of these motions were rejected, a decision on the last one will be issued lateron.
Then, finally, the indictment was read out in court. It took Federal Prosecutor Diemer slightly more than an hour, from 3:37 to 4:41 pm, to read out the operative part of the indictment, some 35 pages. The remaining part of the 488 page indictment, containining the “relevant results of the investigation”, is not read out in open court.
Finally, the defence also brought two challenges to the composition of the court. A decision on these will be issued tomorrow.
And again, the bombshell was dropped towards the end of the hearing. Almost in passing, the presiding judge referred to an argument the defence had picked up from a motion by a victim’s counsel: There have been several motions by residents of the Keupstraße in Cologne to join the proceedings as private accessory prosecutors, more are to be expected. Adding to the number of private prosecutors may exacerbate the problems concerning the size of the courtroom. One possible consequence entertained by the court is the severance of those counts of the indictment dealing with the 2004 bombing attack in the Keupstraße. This would mean that separate proceedings would have to be conducted concerning solely this attack. It is evident that the earliest a trial on these charges could be held would be after the end of the trial in Munich – in all probability, there would be no separate trial and these proceedings would simply be “buried” by way of discontinuance after the end of the Munich trial.
Therefore, a severance would not only be a slap in the face of the victims in Cologne, but also a clear signal to all victims of Nazi terror that the Munich Higher Regional Court is prepared to run roughshod over their interests.
The trial hearing will continue tomorrow, 15 May. The possible severance of the Keupstraße bombing attack will be one issue discussed during that hearing and will thus be the focal point of our reporting.