18 January 2017

Prof. Saß continues presenting his expert opinion

The further presentation of the expert opinion by Prof. Saß was delayed once more, again due to motions for reconsideration by Zschäpe’s assigned counsel. However, the expert witness was able to continue after the lunch break.

In addition to the facts he had presented yesterday, he stressed Zschäpe’s ability to conduct camouflage and to convcingly portray alias roles.

In conclusion, he found that Zschäpe’s personality contained dissocial or antisocial, as well as histrionic tendencies, but that there was nothing pointing towards a psychiatric disorder which could call into doubt Zschäpe’s competency. 

As a psychiatrist, it was not his role to decide whether Zschäpe’s statement in court was true or not, therefore he considered two alternative scenarios in deciding whether Zschäpe was dangerous to an extent calling for her placement in preventive detention: If Zschäpe’s statements proved to be wrong and the indictment proved to be true, he found that there exist significant reasons to believe that Zschpe’s involvement in the NSU’s crimes are an expression of a deep-seated internal state of mind and that the preconditions for preventive detention were present. Prof. Saß made an interesting comment when he said that he thought it quite possible that Zschäpe would once more find persons willing to commit similar crimes in cooperation with her – an assessment which is sadly all too realistic particularly in light of the recent massive spike in violent racist crimes, particularly directed against refugees.

On the other hand, Saß stated, if Zschäpe’s statements proved true the question of her dangerousness would have to be answered differently. However, he also added that there were a number of indicators calling into question the believability of her statement overall: Her statements were always prepared over a long period of time and read out by her counsel, Zschäpe only read out one short statement in a rather distant manner. After Zschäpe had ended her defense strategy based on silence, a strategy which had suggested itself instead would have been to actually openly comment on the charges. In addition, Zschäpe’s assertiveness against her counsel in the trial and corresponding descriptions by many witnesses stood in total contrast to Zschäpe’s self-characterization. Finally, there were no indicators for the authenticity of Zschäpe’s statement, inter alia no indicators at all that she had been emotionally influenced by any of the witness statements.

As a preliminary conclusion, it can be said that Saß’ is sharing the assessment of many participants in the trial, namely that Zschäpe’s statements are far from convincing, and that he finds a continuing dangerousness of Zschäpe in case of a conviction – which is called for by the evidence heard in the trial.

Saß’ questioning by the court and the parties will take place next week. Tomorrow, the trial will begin on 11.30 am with expert witness Prof. Leygraf (see the report of 11 January 2017).