Germany: Judgment in the NSU trial, 5 defendants and 14 defenders

The written judgment in the NSU trial is gigantic like everything in this historic trial: Not only the trial lasted 438 days, with five defendants and 14 defenders, plus 90 co-plaintiffs and more than 600 witnesses. Now the written judgment is too big and the time that has to have waited is particularly long: The judgment has 3025 pages and comprises six files. In addition, there are 44 files with the collected applications, orders, and minutes from five years of trial.

If this were delivered with messengers, it would be a small move. Therefore, the presiding judge Manfred Gotzl has already announced that at least the protocol will be transmitted digitally to the process participants.

The 6th criminal division of the Higher Regional Court (OLG) in Munich exceeded the legal period of 93 weeks for this work to one day. The last date on April 22 at midnight would have been to sign and stamp the written judgment at the court’s office. The court made it 36 ​​hours earlier.

The written judgment explains the reasons that led to the judgment against the five defendants on July 11, 2018 – almost two years ago. The Munich Higher Regional Court had sentenced the main accused Beate Zschape to life imprisonment, and her four co-accused to sentences between two and a half and ten years.

Only now can the BGH deal with the judgments

Zschape was found guilty of complicity in ten murders, 15 robberies and two explosives, two of her helpers for helping with the murder and the others for supporting a terrorist organization. The trial against the right-wing terrorist gang called the National Socialist Underground, NSU for short, is considered the most important trial after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The written judgment is so important because only now can the revision begin, now can the defense lawyers justify their revisions, only now can the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) deal with the judgments against Zschape and the co-accused, whether they are lawful or not consider.

Until the Federal Court of Justice decides, Beate Zschape, who has been sentenced to life imprisonment, will remain in the Chemnitz women’s prison. However, Carsten S., convicted of aiding and abetting the murder, is likely to leave the detention center soon – he did not want to wait for years to come to a decision and had already withdrawn the revision in January 2019 and started the detention. The other three convicts are still free with their families. Some of them are considered martyrs of the right-wing scene.

Comparatively short deadline for justifying the revisions

From the time the defense lawyers received the judgment, they now have one month to justify their revision: this is short compared to the 93 weeks of the judges. Then the files go to the Attorney General, who comments. Only then will the OLG Munich put together a thick package and send it to Karlsruhe. A decision of the BGH can then be expected in about two years.

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Akihito Muranaka
News writer at The Eastern Herald. Bringing news direct from Japan, Korea, China, Italy, and other parts of the world.