• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Has Germany learned lessons of NSU failures?

AFP/The Local · 27 Aug 2014, 14:46

Published: 27 Aug 2014 14:46 GMT+02:00

Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet approved the draft law based on the recommendations of a parliamentary committee tasked with investigating the bungled murder probe.

Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said the discovery of a "terrorist cell" in November 2011 believed to be responsible for gunning down 10 people, mainly Turkish immigrants, over seven years had created "shock and dismay in Germany".

"We have the duty to do everything we can to ensure that such things never happen again," Justice Minister Heiko Maas said in a statement.

The law, which must still pass parliament, would require criminal justice authorities to do more to take possible "racist, xenophobic or otherwise dehumanising" motives into account in criminal investigations and sentencing.

Public prosecutors would be told to consider such motives "early on" while probing crimes, while the federal prosecutor's office would be given powers to take over a case when it suspects an extremist motive.

The draft law also untangles the lines of authority among stateinstitutions to prevent cases slipping between the cracks.

The parliamentary probe of the so-called National Socialist Underground (NSU), a neo-Nazi trio blamed for the serial murders carried out between 2000 and 2007, found massive failings in the police investigation in a damning 1,000-page report released last August.

It said that a lack of coordination between authorities in various regions and a presumption that the killers must also have been immigrants allowed the group to act with impunity.

The NSU's sole surviving member, Beate Zschäpe, is on trial, accused of lending vital support to the group's two gunmen, Uwe Böhnhardt and Uwe Bundlos, who died in an apparent murder-suicide in late 2011.

Story continues below…

Until then, police and the media had dubbed the nationwide series of gangland-style shootings, committed with the same Ceska handgun, the "doner (kebab) murders", suspecting that Turkish criminal groups were to blame.

German police and domestic intelligence services faced withering criticism for ingrained bias by associating terrorism only with the far-left or Islamists, not right-wing extremists.

The case shook Germany's self-image of having learned the lessons of its Nazi past.

SEE ALSO: Officer puts neo-Nazi stickers in police van

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Brexit vote
Brexit 'doesn't pose big risk' to German economy
Car manufacturing at Volkswagen. Photo: DPA

While the financial markets have been thrown into disarray by the Brexit vote, leading experts on the German labour market say the country is easily strong enough to cope.

Berlin colony says no to more 'non-Germans' in its gardens
One of the many small garden colonies in Germany. Photo: DPA.

A public Berlin garden colony has come under fire for denying two Turkish families allotment spaces, saying there are already too many 'non-Germans' using the allotments.

Germany experiences highest birth rate in 15 years
Photos: DPA

Germany is experiencing a mini baby boom - but a veritable "death boom" is more than balancing out the score sheet.

Monsanto still 'open' to deal with German chemical giant
An Indian Monsanto farmer seen at work in 'Sweet Corn' field at Monsanto Bangalore Centre. Photo: EPA.

Monsanto said on Wednesday it was still open to a potential merger with Bayer, or to another big deal, as it reported lower earnings due to a tough agricultural market.

Shock birthday party attack at campsite leaves one dead
A broken fence posts found at the campsite. Photo: DPA.

Violence erupted at a campsite birthday party in Lower Saxony leaving one dead, police reported on Wednesday.

Trabi totalled on Autobahn after skidding on snail slime
Photo: Paderborn police

A vintage East German "Trabi" car has come unstuck after its driver hit a snail trail on the Autobahn.

Munich 'to spend extra €2.2m' on Oktoberfest security
Oktoberfest in Munich, 2014. Photo: DPA.

After terror attacks in Paris, Brussels and most recently Istanbul, Munich could spend nearly €3 million more on security and other measures - but terrorism isn't the only concern: the biggest fear is overcrowding.

The Local List
Six ways to make this Munich summer one to remember
The Kocherlball in the English Garden. Photo: DPA

At a loss for what to do with the warm months in Munich this year? These six attractions have to go on your summer bucket list.

Brexit vote
Germans rally on Twitter to show love for UK
Photo: DPA

Twitter was swamped with tributes after Germany's largest liberal newspaper asked readers to show some love for Britain despite its vote to leave the EU.

German kidnaps Swiss child, raising online gaming fears
File photo: Rachel Johnson / Flickr Creative Commons.

A 12-year-old Swiss boy was allegedly abused by a German man he first met online.

Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Sponsored Article
US expats: Taxes are due June 15th
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
Features
6 reasons Germany's summer is unbeatable for thrill-seekers
National
The future belongs to these 10 German regions
7,924
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd