13 October 2015

More pointless motions from the Zschäpe Wohlleben defense

Today the court was about to start taking evidence on notes found in the NSU apartment in the Frühlingsstraße detailing their scouting out potential victims. However, the defense again kept the court from this endeavor by way of pointless motions:

The court began by rejecting the motion by the Wohlleben defense to suspend the hearing and release Wohlleben from detention. His defense responded by first asking for an interruption and then bringing a motion for reconsideration, claiming that the court had failed to take into account inter alia statement by Zschäpe’s assigned counsel that they were unable to conduct a proper defense.

The Zschäpe defense remained entirely passive throughout the whole event – even counsel Grasel, who last week had declared that Zschäpe joined the Wohlleben defense motion, now did not even join the motion for reconsideration. The Wohlleben defense, on the other hand, surely knows that their motion is without merit: even leaving aside the fact that whether or not someone is properly defended is a question to be answered based on objective facts and not a self-assessment by defense counsel, it is clear that Wohlleben’s rights are not influenced by the infighting within the Zschäpe defense. Accordingly, their motion to reconsider only dealt with the relevance for Wohlleben in two rather half-hearted sentences at the very end.

The court interrupted the trial around noon. It will be continued tomorrow, probably with a decision on the motion for reconsideration.

All in all, the defense of the two main accused presents itself in a desolate condition: Zschäpe’s counsel have been set against each other by their client and thus shut down, it seems that she would rather be represented by Wohlleben’s lawyers. The latter, meanwhile, are grasping at a last straw in attempting to provoke mistakes by the court, knowing full well that, based on the evidence heard in the trial, Wohlleben is heading straight towards a conviction.

But the way the court is handling the whole situation also raises some questions: last Thursday, the court already interrupted the trial when it could instead have discussed the defense motion during a break and at least tried to start taking evidence on that day. Today again, it was not clear why the court felt unable to issue its decision on the motion to reconsider after a break for internal debate. So far, two trial days have again been lost to defense shenanigans, and this after the court had not seemed all that eager to conduct the taking of evidence with a lot of speed in the weeks prior to and after the summer break. Two weeks ago, the court has shown that is unwilling to follow motions by victims’ counsel to effectively clear up the background to the NSU’s crimes (see the reports of 29 September 2015 and 30 September 2015) – but as seen today, neither does is seem to have an interest in speedily conducting the taking of evidence and furthering the trial.