23 November 2017

Further closing statements by victims’ counsel: on the NSU’s political context.

Victim’s counsel Dr. Peer Stolle, in his closing statement held today, argued against the tendency of those involved in the NSU trial to uncouple and divorce it from its context, the historical developments during the time in which the organization arose and grew, and the Nazi scene in Thuringia and Germany. He announced:

„I will first call to mind the situation of the broader society in the early 1990s, will then briefly consider cornerstones of the biographies of the deceased Mundlos and Böhnhardt and the accused, will trace the development of the extreme rightwing scene in Thuringia, its ideology and its concepts of action and will thus show that the NSU was not a murderous project of a few individuals who were cut off from the scene, but rather the logical product of the concepts discussed within that scene.” 

He then did as he had announced, offering an impressive overview of historical developments, but never losing sight of the evidence heard in the trial. He considered the events of 1990 and beyond, the right-wing shift of the broader society, the wave of racist and Nazi violence, the origins and development of the “Thuringia Home Guard” (THS), and finally the discussions within the THS concerning “leaderless resistance” which in the end lead to the NSU.

This look back at the wave of racist attacks was very timely, coming as it did on the 25th anniversary of [link: https://gedenkenmoelln1992.wordpress.com/] the murderous arson attack in Mölln [/link].

Peer Stolle also showed, based on the many crimes involving bombs and fake bombs committed by the “Section Jena” of the THS in 1995 to 1998, that the development of the NSU did not begin with Böhnhardt, Mundlos and Zschäpe going underground, but at a much earlier date, and that accordingly not only these three persons, but others as well, including persons from Thuringia, must be considered part of the organization.

Details concerning Peer Stolle’s statement can be found (in German) in the [link: http://www.dka-kanzlei.de/news-reader/rechtsanwalt-dr-stolle-plaediert-im-nsu-prozess.html] summary of his statement [/link].

Zschäpe defense attorneys Heer and Stahl at first did not interrupt the closing statement – after all, the court had made very clear that such statements on the context of the crimes in the indictment are of course permissible. They did, however, performed a veritable Punch and Judy show of grimaces and other gestures – a show which did not at all faze Stolle. The court also took note of this cringy behavior by the defense counsel, as could be deduced from angry glances thrown their way.

Stahl finally tried a sleight-of-hand: Peer Stolle had, in his closing statement, referred inter alia to the bombs found in the search of the garage in 1998. The defense had earlier argued for the exclusion of this evidence, and Stahl now claimed that this meant that the evidence could not be mentioned in the closing statements. In the alternative, he claimed that the court had to decide on the defense motion right away. Prosecutor Weingarten voiced his surprise: after all, the prosecution had referred quite extensively to these documents, without any reaction at all by the defense. He also stated quite clearly that legally speaking, a mere motion to exclude evidence did not prohibit others from considering that evidence in their closing statements. Neither did the law foresee a legal right for parties to have such motions decided prior to the judgment. The court decision confirmed both parts of his statement.

Wohlleben and his defense followed the closing statement stony-faced, knowing that Stolle severaly called into doubt Wohlleben’s self-image as a pacifist “ethnopluralist”.

The trial day ended after Peer Stolle’s closing statement as accused Eminger claimed to suffer from a migraine attack. The trial and the closing statements will continue next Tuesday, 28 November.