31 July 2017

Concluding statements of the federal prosecution, day 4: on Wohlleben and Schultze and on the Ceska murder weapon

The prosecution had originally announced that prosecutor Greger was to hold her statement on the fifteen brutal robberies committed by the NSU today. However, this was postponed, instead her colleague Weingarten began his concluding statement on accused Wohlleben, Schultze, Gerlach and Eminger. He announced that he would be able to deal only with Wohlleben and Schultze and the procurement of the Ceska murder weapon this weeks and would deal with Gerlach and Eminger after the summer break. All accused, regardless of how active or inactive their defense counsel had been in the trial and of how much interest the press showed in them, would receive the same amount of attention from the prosecution – a clear signal towards accused Gerlach and Eminger. 

Weingarten then began dealing with the evidence concerning the procurement of the Ceska pistol – an act for which Wohlleben and Schultze are charged with nine counts of aiding and abetting murder. Contrary to the concluding statement of his colleague Greger last week, which had dealt with the evidence in a rather cursory manner, Weingarten considered all relevant statements by witnesses and accused in a very thorough and detail-oriented manner. He came to the convincing conclusion that the chain of custody of the murder weapon – from a Swiss gun shop to the Nazi scene shop “Madley” in Jena and from there via Wohlleben and Schultze to the NSU core trio, which used it to commit nine murders – has been cleared up without any remaining gaps.

Weingarten’s assessment of accused Schultze proved interesting: according to Weingarten, Schultze had tried his best to present all objective facts as thoroughly and accurately as possible. However, when it came to his subjective motives, personal attitudes etc., he was unable or rather unwilling to give a detailed statement. Weingarten gave the example of an attack on a mobile kebap shop perpetrated by Schultze and others – asked about the motive for this attack, Schultze had not referred to the obvious racist implications, but had only stated, after a long period of deliberation, that “we would not have done the same had they been selling bratwurst.” Weingarten’s assessment accords to quite some extent with our own: while it is clear that Schultze does not adhere to Nazi ideology anymore, he is also totally unwilling to accept the fact that he clearly did in the 1990s.

The second aspect where Weingarten deviates from Schultze’s own statement is Schultze’s claim that he had not originally ordered a silenced pistol. Rather, as Weingarten showed after a detailed consideration of the evidence, the pistol had been provided just as ordered, the silencer had been ordered from the very beginning. Given that the use as a murder weapon is an obvious one for a silenced pistol, this aspect proves the requisite mens rea of Wohlleben and Schultze, who in addition knew of and shared the neo-Nazi ideology of the NSU core trio and their propensity for violence.

With relation to the silenced pistol, Weingarten tried unsuccessfully to come to the defense of the police agencies investigating the then so-called “kebap killings”: as a silenced pistol fulfilled all clichés of a killing by professional killers and thus the involvement of organized crime, Weingarten argued that it was understandable that the police agencies investigated only in that direction. However, this is far from a convincing explanation of why the police investigated only against the victims and their families: why did the police not even consider other possible motives, especially after years of investigation had led to no hints of victims’ involvement in criminal activities and had also showed no connections between them except for the fact that they were “foreigners”, i.e. members of a group hated by neo-Nazis? Why did the police spend years investigating friends and families of the murder victims and looking for personal motives, even after it had become clear they were dealing with serial murders? This attempt to explain away the institutionalized racism in the police agencies is bound to fail.