4 July 2013

Catastrophically bad investigation leads to catastrophically bad trial days

The first half of this trial day saw the low quality of police investigations reflected into the courtroom.

Carsten Schultze has stated that he provided a silenced pistol to Böhnhardt and Mundlos and that he believes this pistol to have been the Ceska. He stated that when first interrogated, he had been shown grainy black-and-white copies of several weapons. In a later interrogation he had been shown several weapons. He was not able definitely to identify one of those as the weapon he had bought and given to “the Three”.

A police witness who was present during an interrogation of accused Gerlach, during which Gerlach was shown several weapons, brought a box full of weapons with him into the courtroom. It turned out during the course of his testimony that these weapons were of the same make as those weapons which had been shown to Gerlach – but they were not the same weapons; in fact the weapons shown to Gerlach may well have had differently-colored barrels or grips. Accordingly, this testimony was rather useless.

However, this negligent investigation will not have an influence on the result of the trial, as one thing did become quite clear: Schultze distinctly remembered a pistol whose barrel was threaded for a silencer – the only pistol so threaded among the NSU’s weapons was exactly the Ceska used in the group’s murders. This should suffice to identify the weapon provided by Schultze and Wohlleben as the murder weapon.

Another police officer testifed about the content of the first interrogations of Gerlach. His testimony showed quite clearly that Gerlach only ever admitted facts which he had to assume the police knew anyway. Gerlach would later make long statements to the investigating judge of the Federal Court of Justice, which will be read out in court. These will show how he divulged further details step by step after he realized that his identity papers had been crucial in allowing the NSU to commit several murders.