• 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
How your boss can still pay under the minimum wage
A protest in front of the Chancellery in 2013. Photo: DPA

German workers are disappointed about the first-ever court ruling on the country's year-old minimum wage law.

'Shit show' Berlin airport
Plan to open Berlin airport in 2017 finally (inevitably) dead
Passengers won't be walking beneath Willy Brandt's name in lights any time soon. Photo: DPA

Travellers are set to wait still longer for Berlin's much-delayed new airport to open, as city media report that a provisional opening date in late 2017 is no longer achievable.

Garbageman catches child falling from 2nd floor window
Bogdan W. (r) with four-year-old Eden. Photo: DPA

A young boy had a miraculous rescue in western Germany on Wednesday when a bin man happened to see him hanging from the window ledge and managed to catch him just in time.

Church hides refugees from state in Bavarian beauty spot
The view near Tutzing on Lake Starnberg. Photo: DPA

The Catholic Church in southern Bavaria is offering religious asylum to refugees who fled Isis, and who the state now wants to deport.

German firm fights years-long battle to crack Rubik's Cube
Photo: DPA

A German toy manufacturer is nearing success in its long battle to be able to make a Rubik's Cube all of its own.

The Local List
13 (even more) thrilling facts you must know about Berlin
Berlin, du bist so wunderbar. Photo: DPA.

Berlin is just so gosh darn interesting, we couldn't fit it all into the first list on our website of infinite virtual space.

1000s of smashed beer bottles bring Autobahn to standstill
The clean up near Bayreuth. Photo: DPA

The main road artery between Munich and Berlin was completely shut down on Tuesday evening after a truck driver committed a cardinal sin.

Far-right leader Petry under investigation for perjury
Frauke Petry. Photo: DPA

Her right wing populist party’s electoral successes have struck the fear of God into the political mainstream. But Frauke Petry is now under investigation in Dresden for perjury.

We'll crush German airlines, boasts Ryanair boss
Michael O’Leary. Photo: DPA

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has told a German newspaper that German rivals Air Berlin and Eurowings are doomed.

All aboard the €3,000 train ride from Berlin to London
Hercule Poirot on the Orient Express. Photo: Arte/DPA

One imagines that there is more than one Londoner who has moved to Germany in pursuit of Christopher Isherwood’s Berlin. Now they have the chance to travel like him, too.

Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that will stay with you forever
Technology
Church plans to connect with faithful at Wi-Fi 'Godspots'
Technology
Online hate speech can cost users thousands of Euros
Society
Bavarians in rush for non-lethal weapons licenses
Sport
Here's Germany's Mannschaft for Euro 2016
Culture
The Syrian pianist playing his way into Germans' hearts
The parrot who flew fast enough to trigger a speed camera
Business & Money
Surprise results give Germany strongest growth in two years
Technology
New law could let free Wi-Fi bloom across Germany
Politics
Berlin's plans to beef up the German army
Munich
The bloody knife attack that shocked a Bavarian town
National
Supermarkets must pay massive fine for fixing beer prices
Sport
Lufthansa's Euro 2016 ad takes aim at England
Culture
The 6 German words you need to know for spring
Culture
6 weird and wonderful ways Germans celebrate May 1st
Gallery
Feast your eyes on Germany in springtime bloom
National
4/20: Five things to know about weed in Germany
Berlin
Police break up hipster swarm at vegan restaurant opening
Politics
Merkel allows Erdogan case against German satirist to go ahead
Travel
7 of Germany's most jaw-dropping national parks
7,775
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd