30 September 2015

Court rejects further motions for evidence – and thus refuses to thoroughly clear up the facts

The first witnesses today were two police detectives who had questioned a taxi driver who reported that he had driven Beate Zschäpe from the NSU apartment in Zwickau to the train station in June 2011 – this corresponds with an internet search on Zschäpe’s computer for a train ticket to the town where accused Holger Gerlach lived (see the report of 2 September 2015). They both stated that the witness had reported the facts as laid down in their report – he had driven Zschäpe to the airport in the morning of 16 June 2011, furthermore he had also had Uwe Böhnhardt as a passenger a few weeks earlier. Zschäpe’s defense attorney Stahl attempted to get the witnesses to admit to insufficiencies in their reports, but his attempts were characterized by more excitement than substance.

Next up was an officer who had dealt with photos showing André Eminger’s tattoos. These include lots of hardcore National Socialist propaganda slogans: an SS death’s head, the NS slogan “You are nothing, your Volk is everything” in Runes, the Hitler youth slogan “Blut und Ehre” (in English: “Blood and Honour”), the name of the “White Brotherhood in the Iron Mountains” which he co-founded and, as a crowning conclusion, in big letters over his stomach, “Die, Jew, Die.” Eminger likes to show these tattoos in public, as shown by pictures from a seaside vacation. While Eminger remains silent in court, his body quite clearly shows him as a fanatical proponent of the ideology which also formed the basis for the murders and bomb attacks committed by the NSU.

After the break, the court issued a number of decisions rejecting motions for evidence brought by victims’ counsel over the last two years. These decisions, most of which followed the very same pattern, are surprising not so much for the fact that they denied the motions – the motion to clear up Combat 18 activities in Dortmund had been made in November 2014, after more than ten months it was to be expected that the court would not follow it. What is surprising is how easy the court seems to find it to declare as irrelevant for the Munich trial possible contacts of organized Nazis in the cities of the NSU murders and thus their possible involvement in the NSU’s crimes. The court now has to decide whether its aim is an actual elucidation of the facts concerning the terrorist organization NSU and its crimes or simply a conviction of the five accused before it. In the last two years, the presiding judge has indeed shown an interest in actually clearing up the facts, now the court seems to have decided to keep out of the trial the possibility of contacts to Nazi organizations in the various cities as well as the possibility of the existence of a countrywide network of armed cells. Accordingly, the court also rejected the motion to make part of the case file the so-called “NSU-NSDAP” CD which had been given to the authorities by now-deceased informer Thomas Richter.

Victims’ counsel will surely show once more why such a view, which closely follows the indictment by the federal prosecution – an indictment which has already been disproven to the extent that it tries to present the NSU as an isolated group –, does not do justice to the dimension of this trial. They will also bring further motions to try to ensure that, as much as possible, the facts concerning the NSU and its crimes will actually be cleared up.