29 September 2016

Zschäpe speaks – but does not have anything interesting to say. And: the court continues to refuse clearing up the facts.

Today the court heard the answers by the Zschäpe defense to the court’s most recent questions. Again not a job well-done by defense counsel Grasel and Borchert: their answers again added events which Zschäpe had not even mentioned in passing before even though they seem rather hard to forget (in this case a fight between Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt, which Zschäpe “would rather not describe in detail”), and they again tried to explain away obvious inconsistencies by claiming that they had simply reported Zschäpe’s “suppositions” (in this case Zschäpe’s claiming earlier that Mundlos had made photos of the murders, while at the same time claiming that she had not known anything about the murders).

Those present in the courtroom were surprised when counsel Borchert then announced that his client wished to say something herself. Zschäpe read out a few pre-written sentences, the content of which were hardly surprising in light of the defense strategy: Zschäpe stated that, early on, she had shared some of the “nationalist ideas” espoused by Böhnhardt and his friends, but that she had turned her back on those ideas in the meantime. She “condemned” what Böhnhardt and Mundlos had done to their victims and their families and also her “own failings” in this regard. Zschäpe then immediately showed how little she meant all this: asked by victim’s counsel Sebastian Scharmer whether she would finally answer the questions of these very same victims and their families, she again had her defense counsel answer, and Borchert again stated that the questions will not be answered.

Victims’ counsel again brought several motions for evidence. Inter alia, these concerned a 1997 visit of Zschäpe’s to an event of the “Artgemeinschaft”, a community of old and Neo-Nazis headed by Nazi lawyer Jürgen Rieger and closely based on historical national Socialism. According to the testimony of a police officer, Zschäpe had visited this event together with other neo-Nazis from Jena – but without Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt.

The court again rejected several earlier motions for evidence brought by victims’ counsel and thus showed once more that it is not at all interested in clearing up the facts of the case. The motions rejected this time inter alia concern the “Festival of Peoples”, an event bringing together neo-fascists associated with “Blood and Honour” from all over Europe. However, the court claimed that this was not relevant at all for its judgement – after all, Wohlleben must not necessarily have fully shared the ideology of the people he had invited, and neither must his views have remained entirely stable between 1999/2000, when he is accused of having provided the murder weapon to the NSU, and the mid-2000s, when the “Festivals of Peoples” took place. It is obvious that this sort of hair-splitting totally goes beyond what is required for a successful motion for evidence.