10 May 2016

The court is working hard not to clear up the involvement of secret service informers

The trial day began with a court decision rejecting the motion by the Zschäpe defense for a suspension of the trial. The court then heard a federal criminal police detective who once again testified on radio stations’ reports on the death of Böhnhardt and Mundlos after the robbery in Eisenach on 4 November 2011.

The rest of the rather short trial day was dedicated to the court rejecting several motions for evidence brought by victims’ counsel. These motions had concerned the criminal acquaintances of Böhnhardt, Zschäpe and Mundlos as well as the question why those three were never arrested during their stay in Chemnitz, in spite of reports concerning their presence in the city, robberies they had committed and were planning to commit, as well as their supporters.

The court spend several pages trying to explain why, even if the facts claimed in these motions were to be proven, it would not draw the conclusion that “the agencies involved would have been able to find out the whereabouts of these fugitives and effect an arrest”. It has thus become clear that the court has by now totally joined the federal prosecution in giving up any pretense at clearing up the facts, instead simply claiming that “any responsibility of state agencies cannot be found”.

None of this is surprising. Nonetheless, the convoluted reasoning behind these decisions shows that the court is finding it quite hard to argue for its claims. To give but one example, the court explains its claim that the refusal to undertake any kind of search operation in Chemnitz – most likely upon requests by the secret service – did not engage the responsibility of state agencies as follows: “It must also be considered that even if the apartment of the fugitives had been found out”, an arrest might still have failed since “precautionary measures by the fugitives, such as the preparation of an escape route, could have prevented an arrest operation from succeeding”. Based on this kind of logic, any kind of responsibility of the state would be excluded unless active collaboration of state agencies in the crime concerned could be proven.

Beate Zschäpe has announced that she will have her defense counsel answer further of the court’s questions on Thursday.