The nsu trial has already begun

The dispute over media space put munich’s higher regional court on the defensive

The nsu trial, which begins in munich on wednesday, will probably be one of the most spectacular trials in post-war german history. Also because there was a sixth defendant in addition to the five officially accused around beate zschape: the higher regional court itself, which was in charge of the proceedings. In truth, the trial began a long time ago, when the court’s press office ied the accreditation lists for the press.

Since then, a veritable criminal court has descended on the judges, as if they had to answer for all the mishaps in the investigation of the ten neo-nazi murders. Only the most recent decision of the federal prosecution court has now helped to ease the situation.

Imagine, several german burgers were shot in turkey and the german media could not attend the trial – a hardly bearable thought. However, as is well known, this was exactly the situation at the nsu trial until last friday: no turkish media and also many other foreign media had been given a fixed place in the courtroom with its limited 50 seats for the press, which was to be held after the "greyhound"-principle were assigned: in the order of applications.

On friday, the federal constitutional court in karlsruhe granted the urgent application of the turkish daily newspaper sabah. Accordingly, the munich higher regional court has been ordered to, "to allocate an appropriate number of seats to representatives of foreign media with a special connection to the victims of the crimes charged, in accordance with a procedure to be determined by the court within the scope of its authority to conduct the trial".

It was possible to open an additional quota of not less than three seats, in which seats would be allocated according to the principle of priority or, for example, by drawing lots. However, the presiding judge could also arrange the entire previous allocation of seats or the accreditation as a whole according to other rules, which is, however, unlikely.

The federal constitutional court justified its decision with the "defense against serious disadvantages", which could arise due to the previous allocation of space. The judges could not give a final verdict because of the time, that will come in the future. With this decision, the karlsruhe court has now hopefully eased the debate about the media presence at the nsu trial.

Absurd and dubious proposals

Probably it would have made sense from the very beginning to reserve a certain contingent of fixed seats for foreign media representatives. Other variants introduced into the heated debate range from the absurd to the dubious – the proposal of the minister of justice of north rhine-westphalia to move the trial to the munich fair is rather absurd. There will be held next week the world fair "bauma" held and every corner is booked. Doubtful are the proposals of a video transmission.

Because no court in germany has yet ruled on their legality, even though this was possible in norway in the breivik trial. The munich judges want to exclude one thing above all: that there could be an appeal of the verdict. Karlsruhe has now intervened to help. And when the media hype dies down again after the first spectacular days and the daily routine of the trial returns, the seat number of the accreditation will probably not play a major role any more anyway.

But above this sometimes very agitated criticism of the court’s public relations work, the actual subject of the trial has almost faded into the background: the racially motivated series of murders committed by the "national socialist underground", of which ten people fell victim. The charges against beate zschape and four other defendants are that they supported or took part in this. With them in the courtroom will be 71 accessory defendants with their 49 attorneys.

Making the families listen

They are the families of the victims, the wives, daughter and sons of those murdered. Like yvonne boulgarides. Her husband theodorus boulgarides (41) was murdered on june 15. June 2005 around 18 o’clock in its schlusseldienst store at the munchner trappentreu strabe no. 4 with three shots. The greek was immediately dead. The money in the cash register remained untouched. It was case no. 7 in the series of murders of the "national socialist underground". It is the concern of these subsidiary camps to clarify the circumstances of the murders. And the investigative mishaps and suspicions of the families.

It was not the police who informed mrs. Boulgarides of her husband’s death. This had to be taken over by a relative and on the phone the then 14-year-old daughter learned that her father had been murdered. Police arrested mother and daughter the next day – separately. "This should not have been allowed because of the duty of care", says angelika lex. The munich lawyer represents the widow in court:

It is in the nebenklage also about making the victims and their families heard and to bring their concern and injuries into the process.

To this end, the higher regional court has initially drawn up a schedule of hearings until january 2014, which will probably not be sufficient. Hearings will be held up to three times a week under the presiding judge manfred gotzl. Munich was selected by the attorney general as one of the three higher regional courts with a state protection chamber, along with stuttgart and dusseldorf, and the trial must take place in a federal state in which crimes also occurred. The process begins with the determination of the personal data of the accused and the indictment. And, if necessary, with motions of bias by the defense.

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