19 December 2017

Closing statement by Eberhard Reinecke: including thoughts on the NSU’s communications strategy

Counsel Eberhard Reinecke continued his closing statement today. He began with a short rebuttal of the statement by counsel Kaplan of last week, detailing why questions of institutional racism etc. do in fact belong in the Munich trial and why those counsel who, when faced with requests by their clients, emphasize their standing as “independent members of the bar” often turn into “inactive members of the bar”.

Reinecke also referred in passing to the sister of Süleyman Taşköprü, who had written to the court in reaction to the bizarre reactionary statement by her counsel Wierig last week and had asked not to be represented by Wierig any longer. She felt that the statement was not in her interest and that she had been deceived by Wierig. Contrary to her express wishes, Wierig was present in court today. Reinecke’s short reference to this statement once more led to angry interruptions by Zschäpe counsel Heer, Stahl and Sturm – once more contrary to the objective interests of their clients, whom Wierig had after all referred to as the “master mind” of the NSU.

Eberhard Reinecke then turned to the NSU’s communications strategy and criticized the prosecution theory that it was understandable for the police not to have caught onto the NSU as the latter had not claimed responsibility for any of its crimes. He referred, inter alia, to the so-called NSU letter, which the organization had sent out to several Nazi organizations in 2002, and to the second NSU video from around the same time, which had presented the crimes committed until then. His thesis: the letter had been sent out in the hopes that it would be published and lead to a discussion in the larger scene, into which the video would then have been published. However, that discussion had not in fact taken place – a setback for the NSU which might explain the gap of two and a half years between the murder of Habil Kiliç in August of 2001 and that of Mehmet Turgut in February of 2004.

With respect to the later NSU video, the so-called Pink Panther video, Reinecke found it interesting that this had already been prepared to be sent out in November of 2011, and that its ending including the statement “we will return, no question about it”, i.e. quite the opposite of “if you see this, we are already dead”. This made it seem likely that the NSU had planned to commit further attacks and to publish the video in connection with these attacks. One possible target of such attacks was be the Jewish hospital in Berlin, a recent map of which was found in the NSU apartment:

„It is thus quite possible that the suicide of the Uwes on 4 November 2011 prevented a planned larger terror attack and that accused Zschäpe had taken over the task of sending out the videos as part of a larger plan of the whole group.”

Of course, none of this can conclusively proven given the inadequate police investigation even after 2011. However, Reinecke’s statement shows once again how many questions are still unanswered, even with respect to the core members of the NSU. Since many of these questions can only be answered by the accused Zschäpe, Reinecke ended his statement by asking the court to lay down in its judgment that a later positive prognosis for Zschäpe (in the context of proceedings for release from her life sentence) could only be made if Zschäpe had distanced herself from her crimes, as measured by the extent to which she had divulged her true knowledge of the NSU and its crimes.

The closing statement of colleagues Schön and Reinecke has been published in its entirety on their blog (in German), beginning with the post of 16.12.2017 containing the closing statement of Reinhard Schön.

There were no further closing statements today: the Wohlleben defense wished to object to an order by the president and needed three hours to prepare, accused Eminger stated that he suffered from headaches and several defense counsel suffered of colds. The trial day ended shortly after 1 pm.