18 July 2017

Closing arguments to start tomorrow.

After the court had made only slow steps towards an end of the trial in the last few weeks, it picked up all the more pace today: the first thing presiding judge Götzl did after opening the trial was to ask federal prosecutor Dr. Diemer whether the prosecution was prepared for its closing argument. Diemer’s reply was that the prosecution could start tomorrow.

And it looks like it will do just that: the court rejected the two remaining motions for evidence brought by the defense, then read out the criminal records of the accused and ended the taking of evidence.

Victims’ counsel noted that it might prove rather hard for those of their clients who wish to follow the prosecution’s closing arguments – to travel to Munich at a few hours’ notice, to organize vacation days at work etc. The court rather grudgingly took notice of these arguments and finally decided to start the trial day tomorrow at 11 am to give them some additional time for their travels. 

The prosecution announced that their closing argument would take some 22 hours to read out. It is likely that it will fill the remaining trial days until the summer break on 1 August and that victims’ counsel will hold their closing arguments after the break, followed by the defense. This would mean that the court will likely pronounce its judgment in September or October.

Victims and their counsel do not have high expectations of the prosecution’s closing argument: the prosecution has shown time and again, above all in the last few months, that – in spite of 373 trial days’ worth of evidence, in spite of numerous motions for evidence by victims’ counsel – it is still holding onto the narrative presented in the indictment, namely that the NSU was an isolated group of three cut off from the outside world, with just a handful of supporters, and to the claim that state organs do not have any responsibility for having failed to prevent the NSU’s crimes. The prosecution has simply ignored the vast evidence of a larger neo-Nazi network surrounding the NSU, as well as to a clear failure of state organs to stop them, despite numerous informers placed close to the NSU and its supporters – and it is to be feared that it will continue to ignore them in its closing argument.

It is also to be expected that the racist investigations by the police, who treated the NSU’s victims as suspects, will not play a role in these closing arguments either.