Report 4: Trial day May 16, 2013

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The fourth trial day of the NSU-Trial has a tough beginning again. Initially, it starts with the statements of the defense lawyers. After the afternoon pause the Presiding Judge Götzl announces, in any event, that the court does not plan to separate the case of the nail bomb attack in Cologne from the rest of the proceedings. Towards the end of the day’s proceedings now reach closer to the “heart” of the matter (Lawyer Bliwier): The accused will be asked if they want to address the court. As expected, only the defendants Carsten S. and Holger G. want to speak out.  

At the planned beginning of the session, 9:30, it is announced that the start of the days proceedings will be shifted a quarter of an hour. This time Maik E. does not sit in public. The twin brother of André E. is considered to be a potential witness, was how the defense of André E. saw it.

At 9:55 the judges enter the hall and take the attendance. After that Judge Götzl asks for comments on the motions of the previous day of the trial. No one wants to comment on the two proposals from the ’s defense on a terminating or suspending the proceedings. In terms of the application for suspension from the defense of , that also contained a request to remove the federal prosecutor Diemer and the chief prosecutor of the Attorney General Greger, initially the Federal Prosecutor’s office comments.

Federal prosecutor Diemer calls for the motion to be declined. The trial must not be suspended due to the ability to see the files of the investigation committees. The opportunity to inspect these has already been given. Besides, the investigation of the federal prosecution refers to the original sources, not to the derived sources, which constitute the documents of the investigation committee. The Federal Prosecution office experiences “the greatest possible cooperation of the intelligence agencies and authorities.” A removal of the prosecutors is not designated by law and moreover is no reason to suspend criminal proceedings.” Access to the files of the Federal Prosecution of the States is granted, the defense has to just make the effort to come to Karlsruhe. As to the accusation towards Greger of “subjective evaluation,” the defendant Zschäpe was to be reasonable, “We live on evaluations, they are part of our lives.”

Although co-plaintiff representative Clemm would not like to join the motion of the defendant Zschäpe, he then notes “In fact, indeed we have the right to inspect the files, but that has not been implemented.” In connection to the claims of the representatives of Beate Zschäpe furthermore Clemm emphasizes how important the right of access to the so-called “129er-list” is and how important the 129 names of people associated with the NSU is for the establishment of the truth and therefore also for the co-plaintiffs. In any case, the defense and co-plaintiffs need not await the decision of the Senate. State Prosecutor Diemer states: “Before the 129-er list triggers even more, we will send the list to the court.” Again the co-plaintiff’s attorneys imply they indeed are not joining with the motion of the defense for a suspension or stay of the proceedings, but they do also require an improvement in access [to files.]Attorney Scharmer, representative of the co-plaintiff Gamze Kubaşık “We have a break until June 4th, now is the time for the Senate with the investigation committee, to clarify if another form of inspection is possible.” He also requested that the evidence files in the murder of Mehmet Kubaşık in Dortmund in 2006 be sent, which have been examined only by the Federal Prosecutors in Karlsruhe.

Around 10:20 a break follows, it is clarified how the circuit of the microphone system works. There was discussion because the microphone of Diemer immediately functions while the co-plaintiffs must always wait until their respective microphones are activated. After 20 minutes the court comes back and announces that the Federal Prosecution’s microphone is now set to the same settings as the microphones of the co-plaintiffs.

Following are further comments from the co-plaintiff regarding the application for suspension made by Zschäpe’s defense, which stipulated, among other things, the senate must work towards repealing the blocking and closure orders of the investigation committees of Thuringia and Bavaria. Representative Heer, Lawyer for Zschäpe, finally announces he wants to respond on the comments of the Federal Prosecution. For this he requires a break of around 30 minutes. Götzl would like initially to hear the comments to the motions of attorney , representative of Wohlleben and the defendant Zschäpe on questioning and the right to speak. State Attorney of the Federal Court Herr Weingarten claims the motion should be rejected. The right to speak is legally regulated, the State Prosecution comes before the defense and when in doubt the decision is that of the Presiding Judge. Besides there exists no right of the defense to pose relevant questions themselves. As a sting against attorney Heer he adds: “it is not helpful if the order is more important that the substantive content.”

Following this Götzl asks the co-plaintiff representative lawyer Mohammend for a clarification to his motion concerning further possible co-plaintiffs from the nail bomb attack in Cologne. This motion, which Mohammed had made in writing to the court, had led to yesterday’s debate about the possibility of separating the two cases. Mohammed explains that he had come to the number of 70 other potential co-plaintiffs in this case because in the files it said that there was a possible spread of the nail bomb and therefore a “death zone” so to speak. Therefore, in principle, all of the people who were in the area at the time of the attack in this could be considered. He did not have, however, concrete evidence that these people are indeed justified co-plaintiffs and he also had no contact with them. Any information of the possible co-plaintiffs must follow from the officials. His “request” is perhaps more likely to be understood as a suggestion that they should be concerned about. Co-plaintiff representative attorney Erdal asks Mohammed to take back the motion, which he can’t do for legal reasons. Co-plaintiff representative Bliwier says that there is no obligation towards the senate to identify possible other co-plaintiffs, as Mohammed apparently imagines. As this obviously caused some irritation with the Senate, he requested that this matter be put in the files.

Already at 11:15 Götzl pauses the proceedings for lunch.

At 1:45 it starts again. Götzl announces the important thing first: The court is not planning any separation of the nail bomb case in the Keupstraße. Then he announces the resolutions of the Senate: All requests for the audio recording, audio visual, and stenographic records of the main trail are, as expected, declined. The literal recording is, in individual cases, and upon request possible. The motion to inspect the 129er list is, with the announcement of Diemer, has been done, he asked it be sent to the court.

In terms of the motion for sending the evidence files on the murder of Mehmet Kubaşık, this lacks competence to the Senate because it does not deal with the case. To this end, attorney Scharmer must turn to the attorney general. The motions about the right to question and the right to the floor, Göztl announced that he is rejecting it. The presiding Judge decides who gets the floor.

Attorney Sturm, Zschäpes’ defense, asks which version of the 129er-list Attorney General Diemer means. There were two, one with the Federal Criminal Police Office and one with the Attorney General. Diemer assures both versions will be sent to the court.

Attorney Heer objects to Götzl’s decision on the right to speak and requests a decision of the Senate. At 1:55pm there is again a recess. At 2:10pm Götzl informs that the ordinance is confirmed by the Senate. Then Heer reads a response on the comments of the Attorney General to the motions of the suspension of the proceedings and the replacement of Diemer and Greger. Diemer replies: We are not against the inspection of the files, we have not taken the files because they are not relevant for this trial.” Co-Plaintiff representative Bliewier demands: “we should soon penetrate to the heart of this criminal proceeding.”

Shortly after, Götzl actually comes back to the heart of the trial. He asks the accused if they would like to make statements about the case. Attorney Stahl announces his client, Beate Zschäpe, will make no statement on the case. The defense of André E. responds to this motion the same. Nicole , lawyer of Ralf Wohlleben, says that her client will indeed make no statement on these things, but they will give a defense clarification. Carsten S. answers the questions asked by the Chairman himself, he will make a statement. Holger G. also announces he will answer for himself. Attorney Scharmer asks if the two defendants S. and G. were also willing to answer questions.  The defendant of S. affirms this but the defense of G. would not yet like to answer questions. The defense of Carsten S. asks if it will begin with her client. Götzl confirms this.

It follows with questions to the procedure of the interrogation and a short debate about the seating positions of the accused that are testifying. Attorney Schneiders (defense of Wohlleben) requires that the defendants take their place on the witness stand, so that they don’t sit making their statements behind the defendant Wohlleben. Namely the accused Holger G. and Carsten S, who are sitting in the third row of the accused section, The sit in front of Zschäpe and André with their defense attorneys, behind Ralf Wholleben and his defense attorneys and therefore directly behind defendant Wohlleben are precisely those defendants that have announced they are making their statements. A hearing on the witness stand is generally not common when the accused make comments. Accordingly, the defense of S. and G. reject a change in the seating position. Götzl says only: “Well let’s wait and see.” He will decide these and other issues during the upcoming two-week break in the trial.

At 2:30pm the session ends, it will continue one June 4th.