18 May 2017

Expert witness Prof. Bauer: „a character witness in the guise of a professor”

Today the court and parties questioned expert witness Prof. Bauer (on his expert opinion see the report of 3 May 2017). What was already clear after his first appearance in court became even more clear today: Bauer’s opinion is not worth the paper it is printed on.

Bauer related that he first visited Zschäpe in his capacity as a physician, only after Zschäpe had told him about alleged violent attacks by Uwe Böhnhardt and he had informed her counsel of these claims had he been tasked with presenting an expert opinion. He was of the firm opinion that he could nonetheless present an objective, neutral opinion – even after being informed that most courts consider an earlier physician-patient relationship, which is after all based on trust and partiality, an obstacle to tasking the same physician with presenting an expert opinion.

And indeed, Bauer’s statements in court were as partial towards Zschäpe as they could be, no matter how many times he asserted that his was a highly scientific and “very good” expert opinion.

The partiality in his opinion already began with the choice of the aspects of the facts of the case used as a basis: it was the defense who decided which parts of the case file Bauer was given, and even when he asked the attorneys to provide him with the testimony of all witnesses who had made statements on Zschäpe’s characters, they gave him only some of those testimonies, holding back inter alia several witnesses who had met Zschäpe, Böhnhardt and Mundlos while vacationing. Bauer has never before presented a forensic expert opinion, had only had a part in writing some five or six opinions as a young resident in the 1980s. He is not aware of the “minimum requirements” laid down for forensic psychiatric expert opinions or for assessments of credibility of statements – but nonetheless bases his opinion almost entirely on claims by Zschäpe which he deems credible even in the absence of any confirming evidence. Bauer must admit not having asked Zschäpe a number of questions it would have been “desirable” to ask – but is nonetheless unequivocal in stating that there is no way in which a more in-depth exploration could change any aspect of his opinion.

Bauer made the impression of someone who had cast himself in the role of male protector of the pure misunderstood woman – thus once more reproducing the viewpoint of female Nazis as mere accessories of male Nazis, lacking any will of their own. Particularly hard to stomach were his attempts of presenting his expert opinion for Zschäpe in line with the treatment in the 1990s of severely traumatized Bosnian women having fled from the civil war.

As victims’ counsel Eberhard Reinecke aptly summarized in a short statement after Bauer’s testimony, Bauer had spoken as a “character witness in the guise of a professor” – a witness whose testimony will have no impact at all on the court’s judgment.

Bauer’s testimony did, however, at least bring to light some new facts: Zschäpe had confirmed to him that she had known of the various robberies committed by Böhnhardt and Mundlos beforehand. The defense strategy thus once more ended in an own goal.

There will be no trial next Tuesday. Wednesday, 24 May, Beate Zschäpe’s mother will have her – likely very brief – appearance in the courtroom.