Event Date: 15 – 17 May 2019
Richmond University – The American University in London
Richmond TW10 6JP
A Century of Radical Right Extremism: New Approaches
Marc Schwiering (Hans Boeckler Foundation, Research Group on the NSU Trial at Munich Higher Regional Court) – The significance of ancillary suit. The NSU trial at Higher Regional Court of Munich as an example of current deficits in Germany’s response to far-right terrorism
This summer the trial against members and supporters of the German neo-Nazi terrorist group ‘National Socialist underground’ (NSU) at Munich Higher Regional Court has ended after five years. It had been called one of the most important trials in Germany’s post-war history and was a topic of broad public debate and international media coverage.
Already during the trial questions of the existence of wider far-right terrorist networks and of the real right-wing extremist threat to democracy in Germany arose. In addition, also the important question about the legally compliant reaction to this threat by the German state and its security authorities were touched. From the view of my research project the joint plaintiff-lawyers have taken a balancing role in the NSU trial as a corrective to misconceptions, fixations and disregard. The ancillary plaintiffs have taken into account otherwise neglected questions related to the state of German democracy in the verdict-finding. The aim of my project is to analyze the function of the ancillary plaintiffs in the Munich NSU trial and its application as an instrument of victim protection. Has this instrument been fully effective? To what extent was it limited in is effectiveness during the trial and why? What does this tell us about Germany’s response to far-right terrorism as part of its political and legal culture? The central question of this research project includes two thematic complexes. On the one hand, currently virulent and obvious deficits in response to far-right terrorism which could be seen during the trial and are asserted to be exemplary for the current political and legal culture in Germany are analyzed. Secondly, possible reform perspectives will be elaborated.