18 March 2015

Inter alia on accused Carsten Schultze

The trial day began with the report of expert witness Prof. Leygraf, who was asked to answer whether Carsten Schultze, who at the time of the crimes he is accused of was 19 or 20 years old, should be considered as akin to a minor, according to the German law on youth criminality. In his written report, the expert had said that Schultze should be so considered, and today he confirmed this report: Schultze’s Coming Out and his leaving the Nazi scene were significant developments of his personality which happened later, showing that at the time of the crimes he was still more akin to a minor. The presiding judge asked a number of questions; inter alia, he referred to the fact that there was not much time between Schultze’s leaving the Nazi scene and the crimes he is accused of.

Nonetheless, from the perspective of German criminal law, it would not be surprising if the court decided to treat Schultze like a minor at the time of his acts. Of course, this will not be easy how to do that given that he is now in his Mid-Thirties, the court will have to balance the “educational” character of the law on youth criminality with the fact that Schultze has admitted to a serious political crime.

The expert witness also described the way Schultze had behaved in conversations with him. His description closely mirrored Schultze’s behavior in court – above all, Schultze did not say anything concrete concerning his ideology at the time, but again tried to explain his activities in the Nazi scene as akin to “common youthful recreational activities.”

The next witness was Giso Tschirner, another former member of the “Blood & Honour” scene in Chemnitz. Like many before him, he pretended to be dumb and not know anything. He admitted having been member of “B&H”, but claimed to have only been responsible for “security” at concerts. “B&H” leader Starke had stated that Tschirner had transported the TNT meant for “the Three” from Jörg Winter to Starke – Tschirner claimed that this was not true, as had Winter before him, and with very similar wording. Generally, Tschirner claimed not to have noticed anything relevant. Accordingly, there is no need to dedicate more space to his testimony.

The final witness was another former school acquaintance of Beate Zschäpe’s. However, his testimony did not bring anything new, and most of what he said was rather confused – it is very unlikely that it will be relevant for the further proceedings.

In the meantime, the Federal Court of Justice has denied the bail application of the Wohlleben defense. The decision is very clear: according to the evidence so far, there was still a “strong suspicion” of his having aided and abetted nine murders, there was also still a risk of flight. Finally, the court in Munich had conducted the proceedings with due diligence, and the prison sentence in case of conviction was much longer than even prolonged detention (3 years and 2 months as of now).