Federal prosecution again hinders victims’ counsel from questioning a Nazi witness – “We are not the court of last judgment!”
Today’s trial day led to a showdown during the questioning of a witness who had rented a flat for Böhnhardt, Mundlos and Zschäpe in Chemnitz in 1998. Like many, the witness prevaricated and claimed not to remember anything. Like many Nazi witnesses, he was not pressured by the court to quit lying: Presiding judge Goetzl questioned the witness until the few facts the prosecution based on this witness were “taken care of” and then lost all interest. Like many Nazi witnesses, he was questioned critically by victims’ counsel. And like many Nazi witnesses, he was protected by the federal prosecution who intervened and interrupted such questioning.
The following is a statement by several victims’ counsel which was read out in open court in reaction to these interruptions:
„In the criminal case against Beate Zschäpe et al.
the undersigned victims’ counsel make the following statement in reaction to the objections of federal prosecutor Dr. Diemer:
Questioned by victim’s counsel whether he had not cared at all why “the Three” had gone underground in 1998, the witness had stated that he had not cared at all whether they had stolen chocolate bars or killed someone. The witness was then asked about his thoughts when he found out via the media in 2011 that “the Three” had in fact committed several murders.
At this crucial point of the questioning, Dr. Diemer interrupted, without being granted the floor, and stated that he would object to the question unless victims’ counsel could explain its relevance. He stated verbatim:
„We are not the court of last judgment, it is not the duty of a witness to justify himself for his attitudes, but rather to testify on his factual experiences.“
Dr. Diemer thus showed that the elucidation of the truth plays no role for him. It is quite obvious that the question aimed at testing the truthfulness of the witness overall, given that he had shown that he still does not care at all about the series of NSU murders.
It is precisely this examination of the truthfulness of the witness which the prosecution is trying to prevent. The witness was made aware by the prosecution that his behavior on the stand is being backed by state organs.
The question speaks for itself and is obviously permissible. However, given the statement of Dr. Diemer, a further questioning of the witness is nonetheless useless.
Attorneys at law Kienzle, Pinar, Top, Hoffmann, Ilius, von der Behrens”