4 June 2013

Statement by Accused Carsten Schultze

Like the previous trial days, the fifth day of the NSU trial started with a number of procedural motions and many interruptions while the court was in deliberations. After the court had denied several earlier defence motions for discontinuance or suspension of the trial, the Zschäpe defence brought another motion for discontinuance, based on three aspects: a “prejudgement” of their client through statements by the Federal Prosecutor’s Office and several politicians; the still highly unsolved question of what role secret service informers played in the context of the NSU and its crimes, and the fact that several “Offices for the Protection of the Constitution” – the German secret service of the interior which is divided into a federal office and offices in the various Länder – had destroyed files concerning the NSU or its surroundings. Victims counsel, just like the prosecutor’s office, moved that the defence motion be denied. However, they noted that evidence on the role of informers in the NSU will of course have to be heard during the trial. The court’s decision on the motion is expected within the next few days.

The following motion was one on which victims’ counsel and defence counsel were largely in agreement: counsel for one private prosecutor had applied that trial observers from the federal police and the federal “Office for the Protection of the Constitution” be banned from the visitor’s gallery. The Federal Police had announced its intention to send observers with the goal of, inter alia, generating new information for investigation. The “Office for the Protection of the Constitution” had also stated its interest. There is an obvious danger that these observers will brief colleagues slated to appear as witnesses before the court so as to influence the proceedings in the interests of their office. Defence counsel for Zschäpe and Wohlleben joined the motion to exclude such observers. The court denied the motion, seeing no reason to believe that a concrete danger existed of witnesses being influenced – this despite the fact that such reasons are clearly contained in the federal police statement and that examples for similar influence had been uncovered in parliamentary investigation committees on the NSU.

After a motion by the Zschäpe defence that a verbatim record be made of the statements of co-accused had also been denied, accused Carsten Schultze could finally begin his statement in the afternoon. He started with an extensive report on his curriculum vitae, inter alia his entrance into the neo-Nazi scene in Jena at age 16/17 and his “exit” from that scene at age 20. He also noted the various positions he had had in the neo-Nazi party NPD (“National Democratic Party of Germany”) and its youth organization JN (“Young National Democrats”). Inter alia, he had been vice executive secretary of the German JN. However, he maintained that he had never wanted any of these offices, but had been “assigned” them by others.