Karlsruhe (dpa) – The ruling in the NSU trial is not yet final: the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) has been investigating the appeal of Beate Zschäpe since January.
The highest criminal courts in Karlsruhe have announced a press release for today. In it they want to announce ‘further decisions’ and ‘inform about the further course of the procedure’. Details are unknown.
One can only speculate about what is in the communication. It is conceivable that in one or even more cases a decision has already been taken. It is possible that the responsible 3rd criminal senate of the BGH has also set a date for a main hearing.
Only in the case of co-defendant André E. is it clear that an oral hearing will take place. His conviction to a surprisingly lenient sentence is the only one being challenged by the federal prosecutor’s office. Decisions on revisions by Zschäpe, Ralf Wohlleben and Holger G. can in principle only be taken by written resolution. But it can also be negotiated.
The massive trial of the murders and attacks by the neo-Nazi terror cell “National Socialist Underground” (NSU) had lasted more than five years. On July 11, 2018, the Munich Higher Regional Court sentenced Zschäpe as the trio’s sole survivor as an accomplice to life imprisonment. The judges also determined the particular gravity of the guilt. However, there is no evidence that the now 46-year-old was at any of the crime scenes.
The OLG nevertheless concluded that Zschäpe “in 10 cases murdered a person treacherously and with low motives, collectively and intentionally”. She helped select the attack targets and created a safe haven for her friends Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt.
Zschäpe, Mundlos and Böhnhardt had lived underground for almost 14 years. During this time, the men murdered eight small business owners of Turkish descent, a small business owner of Greek descent and a policewoman for racist reasons. In 2011, they committed suicide to avoid arrest. Zschäpe set fire to the shared apartment, sent a confession video and turned himself in.
Ralf Wohlleben was sentenced in nine cases to ten years in prison as an NSU arms acquirer for complicity in murder. The OLG judges sentenced Holger G. and André E. to three years and two and a half years in prison for supporting a terrorist organization. The conviction of a fifth defendant is already final.
The BGH only examines criminal decisions for legal errors. If the judges do not object, the verdict becomes final. Otherwise, they cancel it in whole or in part, for example only as part of a sentence. In extreme cases, a process has to start again.
In about five percent of all revisions, a main hearing takes place. A written decision is only possible under certain conditions. For this, the judges must either agree that they consider an appeal in favor of a suspect well-founded. Or they unanimously reject a federal prosecutor’s request for review as manifestly unfounded.