14 December 2017

Further statements by victims’ counsel, above all on Zschäpe’s statements in court and on André and Susann Eminger.

Today Eberhard Reinecke, who represents several victims of the Keupstraße bombing attack, continued the closing statement his colleague Schön had begun yesterday. Sadly he was unable to finish his statement today as accused Wohlleben stated that he was suffering from headaches.

Reinecke first turned to the investigations concerning accused NSU supporters and voiced his fears that nothing will follow from these proceedings. Above all, he pointed to the many lying Nazi witnesses and used a few concrete examples to show how easy it would be to prove that they had perjured themselves. Considering the many questions that are still left open, Eberhard Reinecke, like Edith Lunnebach before him, appealed to the court to ask inconvenient questions in its judgment and to state what had not been dealt with in the trial.

Under the heading of „partial silence and lack of authenticity”, he next turned to the statement made in court by accused Zschäpe. He showed, on the one hand, why this statement has very little probative value already from a legal standpoint as Zschäpe had answered the court’s questions only in writing and had not answered the questions of victims and their counsel at all. On the other hand, he showed, giving concrete examples, why the statement presented by Zschäpe’s defense attorneys Borchert and Grasel lacks authenticity and believability, is full of internal contradictions and, as far as it is possible to check it against the facts of the case, also disproven by other evidence.

Zschäpe’s defense counsel Heer and Stahl intervened in the closing statement once more – tellingly, it was not the criticism of their defense colleagues, but a criticism of the federal prosecution which they reacted to. In the case file concerning the newspaper archive found in the NSU apartment, Reinecke had found several references to a report concerning avenues for finding further NSU supporters. However, the report itself was not to be found anywhere in these files, and neither did it look like these avenues had in fact been checked out – this despite the fact that, e.g., with respect to the murders in Munich, the archive seemed to contain articles from both the local and the German-wide version of the same newspaper, pointing towards another supporter in Munich who had bought the paper there. With respect to another article of which the author was known, but the publication date was not, the police had simply noted that the date could not be determined and ended the investigation. Reinecke pointed out that they could simply have asked the author, as he had in fact done, and would have quickly received an answer. This was met by the usual protests from Heer and Stahl that these facts had not been introduced into evidence – after they had been told time and again by the court that facts not introduced into evidence could be mentioned in closing statements where this was done as a criticism of the (lack of) investigations. Reinecke found clear words in answer to their protests:

“You are skirting close to the edge of violating the attorney-client relationship. If I actually got the court to consider in its judgment even one fact not introduced into evidence, you would suddenly have more reasons for appeal than you ever gained from all the silly challenges for alleged bias you have brought over these last years.”

The presiding judge admonished him for his use to the word “silly”, but could not hide an amused reaction to Reinecke’s reaction as such. And in its decision, the court once more laid down quite clearly why Reinecke’s statement on his conversation with the journalist were of course allowable in the context of his closing statement.

Eberhard Reinecke then went on to show in minute detail that Zschäpe’s statement is particularly unbelievable where she uses it to try and shield her closest confidants André and Susann Eminger.

He will continue his statement next week. Towards the end of the trial day today, the court heard a very short statement by counsel Kaplan, who represents one of the victims of the Keupstraße attack. Kaplan stated that all accused were guilty as charged. Other than that, he mostly limited himself to noting that questions concerning institutional racism and the role of the secret service needed to be answered, but had no place in this trial. He did not, however, engage with any of the arguments brought by us and by others of why these questions do in fact belong in the courtroom in Munich.

With respect to the defense closing statements, which most likely will begin in mid-January, Zschäpe counsel Heer and Stahl stated that they found it imperative that their statement be held after that of Zschäpe’s other counsel Borchert and Grasel. In addition, they asked for a “longer break” in the trial after that statement. It will be interesting to see how the two parts of the defense interact in their closing statements.