22 November 2017

Further closing statements by victims’ counsel. Gamze Kubaşik adresses Zschäpe

The defense motion for the replacement of prosecutor Weingarten was dismissed – nothing else had been expected. The closing statements of the Kubaşik family and their counsel could thus continue.

Counsel Carsten Ilius began by detailing why it is so unbelievable and unjustifiable that the police did not investigate the possible involvement of the Nazi scene in Dortmund – after all, Dortmund had a large, well-connected and extremely militant Nazi scene surrounding “Blood & Honour” and “Combat 18”, and there were several indicators that persons from that scene had been involved in the preparation of the murder. Motions for evidence by victims’ counsel on these issues have all been rejected.

Carsten Ilius then turned to the investigations of the federal prosecution after 2011 and to their behavior in court. In closing, he turned to frameworks used by sociologists to classify state reactions to racist murders in order to categorize the activities of police and federal prosecution prior to and subsequent to 2011: the investigations before 2011 were characterized by an “actual denial” by state agencies of the fact that Nazis had committed these crimes or that there was even a reason to believe so. When this obvious fact could not be denied any more after 4 November 2011, state agencies instead turned to an “interpretative denial” in which the state’s responsibility was denied by changing the context and referring to “investigative fails”, “insufficient coordination” etc. This brings up the fight over the sovereignty of interpretation concerning the NSU complex.

This fight will also be fought with regard to the size and structure of the NSU. Sebastian Scharmer’s closing statement dealt with both issues, namely the activities of state agencies, in this case the domestic secret service, and the network character of the NSU. With the aid of a diagram, he showed the unbelievable number of secret service informers in the personal and political surroundings of Böhnhardt, Mundlos and Zschäpe. At the end of his statement the diagram, projected onto the courtroom wall, contained more than 30 names or aliases.

In closing, Scharmer directed his statement to Zschäpe and conveyed an impressive offer made by his client: if, after her conviction, Zschäpe actually states the truth and names the other members and supporters of the NSU, Gamze Kubaşik will personally intervene with the court on behalf of Zschäpe and argue for a reduction in the time Zschäpe will actually have to spend behind bars.

Both closing statements once again showed in a very clear and convincing manner the influence that institutionalized racism had on the investigations, the idiocy of the prosecution theory of the isolated cell NSU, as well as the network character of the organization. (Summaries of both statements, in German, can be found [jeweils links] here: Closing statement by Carsten Ilius, closing statement by von Sebastian Scharmer.)

However, both statements were eclipsed by the statement made by Gamze Kubaşik herself at the end of the trial day. She began by detailing what hopes she had at the beginning of the trial, concluding that her hope for an answer to her questions had not been realized:

„I still do not know who, besides the accused here, was involved. Neither do I know why my father was chosen as a victim. Until today, I still do not know who helped the perpetrators in Dortmund, who spied out our shop prior to the murder. And I still do not understand why these people were not stopped.”

Noting that it was clear that all five accused were guilty as charged, she said a few words regarding each and every one of them:

“Holger Gerlach: I believe that he knew what Mundlos, Böhnhardt and Zschäpe were doing these 13 years. He is not an oaf who just wanted to help some old friends. I believe that he knew exactly what they were planning and that he wanted them to do that.”

While it was good that Gerlach had made a statement in the trial, he too was responsible for the fact that she and her siblings had lost their father.

„André Eminger: There is no doubt in my mind that he was very closely involved. He was so close to these three people that he knew what they were doing, that they were committing murders.” Eminger had not changed his Nazi ideology one bit: „For me, he is the worst of the NSU supporters. In addition, I do not believe that he was just a supporter, I believe he was on one level with them.”

„Carsten Schultze: He is the only one whom I believe when he says that he is sorry for what has happened. […] He has helped in finding the truth. Even though I do not believe that he has unsparingly laid open his past Nazi beliefs, I am ready to recognize his sincere remorse.”

“Ralf Wohlleben: he was responsible for the fact that the NSU received a silenced pistol – the pistol with which my father was murdered. He was a supporter from the very beginning for those who killed all these people. […] Wohlleben is intelligent and dangerous. He was the one who organized everything. His behavior in this trial shows me that he has not changed his beliefs one bit.”

„Beate Zschäpe: for me she is just as guilty as those who personally shot my father. She planned everything together with them. I still do not understand why she does not stand by her actions. I find that cowardly!“ Gamze Kubaşik added that she does not believe one word of the statement that Zschäpe’s lawyers had read out on her behalf, and neither did she buy Zschäpe’s claims of remorse as Zschäpe had refused to help the relatives of murder victims to answer their questions. “Ms. Zschäpe, if you ever truly regret what happened, answer us! That is still possible after the trial her has ended.”

In closing her statement, however, Gamze Kubaşik referred to the promise, made by the federal chancellor to the relatives of murder victims in 2012, that the facts concerning the NSU will be uncovered. She turned to the federal prosecutors:

„You may have done a lot to ensure that these five here are convicted. But what about all the others? I do not believe that you will ever indict anybody else. For you this whole thing is finished with the judgment here. […] You have broken that promise!“