13 June 2018

Beginning of the closing statement of counsel Sturm.

Today saw the beginning of the closing statement of Zschäpe counsel Sturm on Zschäpe’s criminal liability for founding of, and membership in, a terrorist organization. The statement was interrupted in the early afternoon as Sturm, who had suffered from coughing fits in the morning, announced that she was not feeling well. When asked by the presiding judge whether she was able to continue on for a short while (i.e. probably 20 or 30 minutes), she reacted in a theatrically indignant manner. On the other hand, she seemed well up to talking to the press for almost half an hour after the trial session had ended.

Her statement today was a mixture of book knowledge of forensic psychiatry – presented in the abstract, but never really applied to the facts at hand –, a very selective consideration of the evidence, straw man arguments and an explanation of Nazism in the 1990s based on the history of the (former) German Democratic Republic which at its core was nothing less than a far-fetched attempt at trivialization. We will summarize her statement in detail once it has concluded.

It is unclear whether Sturm will finish her statement tomorrow. After her statement, the court will have to deal with several motions for evidence presented in the closing statements; in addition, the accused must be given a chance for any last words. Accordingly, it seems clear that a judgment will not be pronounced earlier than the trial week of 26 to 28 June.