Summaries

Thematic focus: The NSU complex – clarification denied

How to overcome a defeat – an introduction
by Heiner Busch

While parliamentary enquiry commissions still seek to clarify the murderous history of the “National Socialist Underground” (NSU) and the role of the domestic intelligence agencies (Verfassungsschutz) in this complex, the federal and state ministers of the interior have found their own way to move on. The position of the Federal Office of the Protection of the Constitution has been strengthened, the dubious use of informers has been legalized, and the president of the federal office is demanding a massive increase of staff for his agency.

Second Enquiry Commission on the NSU in the Bundestag
by Heike Kleffner

In November 2015, a second enquiry commission on the NSU was set up by the federal parliament. Expectations are high. However, the conditions for success are worse than in the first round in 2012/2013: The opposition parties are weak, public attention has diminished and the Federal Office for the Protection of Constitution is unsupportive. The office itself and its informers in the neo-Nazi-scene are once again the focus of attention.

The NSU complex in the regional parliaments
by Maximilian Pichl

In November 2011, Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt committed suicide and Beate Zschäpe handed herself in. The NSU had uncovered itself. More than four years later, their series of murders and bomb attacks are subject of parliamentary enquiries in five German states. Despite a lot of tactical party politics and the ongoing blockade of information by the network of domestic intelligence agencies, new details are uncovered

The NSU trial: a way to the truth?
Interview with Antonia von der Behrens

Since May 2013, Beate Zschäpe and four other neo-Nazis stand on trial before the Higher Regional Court in Munich. The Berlin lawyer Antonia von der Behrens represents the family of Mehmet Kubasik in the proceedings. Killed in 2016 at his kiosk in Dortmund, Kubasik was the 8th victim of the NSU murder series. Von der Behrens reports that the expectations of her clients are frustrated. For the federal prosecutor the NSU only consisted of the trio Mundlos, Böhnhardt and Zschäpe. The court denied motions to take evidence on the neo-Nazi scene that supported the trio. The question if and how much the intelligence agencies knew about the NSU activities remains without answer.

Informer Johann H.
by Kim Finke

For more than two decades, Johann H. was on the payroll of the intelligence agency of North Rhine-Westphalia. He was involved in numerous neo-Nazi groups, sometimes in leading positions. In February 2012, the intelligence agency discovered that he resembled the facial composite of the man, who placed the bomb in the shop of a family of Iranian origins in Cologne in 2001.

What happened to the recommendations of the Bundestag’s first NSU enquiry?
by Gerd Wiegel

Three institutions have been at the centre of interest of the first enquiry commission of the federal parliament: justice, police and the network of domestic intelligence agencies. The commission recommended some cautious but concrete reforms, but could not achieve a fundamental change of philosophy of the authorities. Institutional racism remains a problem.

Non thematic contributions

Police use of pepper spray at football matches
by Thomas Feltes

In 2015, the Pirate Party in the state parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia asked the minister of the interior, how often the police had used pepper spray at football matches in the last five years? The question was not answered. The minister argued that his officials were lacking the time to collect the relevant information. Obviously the ministry and the police try to play down the dangerous effects of the substance.

Draft EU Directive on Terrorism
by Elif Eralp

The Framework Decision on Combating Terrorism adopted in 2002 and amended in 2008 already refers to a broad definition of terrorism, which goes far beyond actual armed and bomb attacks or other serious criminal acts. With the draft directive from December 2015 the European Commission aims to widen the list of terrorist offences. It focusses on “foreign terrorist fighters”. The directive has to be transferred to national law.

The EU’s anti-terror-policy – an overview
by Heiner Busch

In its fight against terrorism the EU not only proposes tougher criminal laws. It already has decided on a PNR Directive. Border controls shall be reinforced. The Schengen Information System shall be upgraded to integrate an automated fingerprint identification system. The Counter Terrorism Coordinator urges the Member States to store ever more information in Europol’s databases. In January 2016, the EU police agency launched its Counter Terrorism Centre. In July, the intelligence services’ Counter Terrorism Group will start its own cooperation platform, hosted by the Dutch security service AIVD.