• Germany's news in English

Senior conservative calls for end to Kunduz inquiry

DDP/The Local · 20 Apr 2010, 10:18

Published: 20 Apr 2010 10:18 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The deputy parliamentary leader of the conservative Christian Democrats (CDU), Andreas Schockenhoff, told the Frankfurter Rundschau that the Bundestag’s inquiry, which has focussed on political statements made by Defence Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, should end.

In September last year, an air strike ordered by Colonel Klein on two petrol tankers hijacked by the Taliban killed an estimated 142 people in Afghanistan, among them dozens of civilians.

“The point of the investigation has been argued to exhaustion,” said Schockenhoff, adding that legally, Klein had “nothing to answer for.”

On Monday, the Karlsruhe-based prosecutors’ office announced Colonel Klein had broken neither German nor international law because he had every reason to assume only insurgents were around the hijacked tankers, not civilians. The announcement ended a long-running investigation of Colonel Klein’s role in the devastating attack.

The Bundestag inquiry has targeted Guttenberg over his initial claim that the air strike was “military appropriate” – a position he later reversed. He has since said he did not have access to information seen by his predecessor Franz Josef Jung when he declared the bombardment “militarily appropriate,” though media reports have contradicted that claim.

Guttenberg is due to face the parliamentary committee of inquiry on Thursday.

Schockenhoff added that Guttenberg's description of the attack as “militarily inappropriate” was unrelated to any criminal accusations against Colonel Klein.

“These questions must be considered independently of each other,” he said.

Greens MP and the UN’s former Special Representative for Afghanistan, Tom Koenigs, rejected the call to wind up the committee of inquiry because he said there is evidence that information had been either deliberately or negligently concealed from the German public during the September election campaign.

Former Defence Minister Jung resigned from his new portfolio as Labour Minister in November, acknowledging he had mishandled the affair. Two senior defence officials also resigned.

Story continues below…

Koenigs told broadcaster Deutschlandfunk that the clearing of Colonel Klein should not be misunderstood as a legitimisation of the attack. The bombing of the tankers may not have been a crime, but it was a mistake.

He could not understand, he added, why such a mistake had not led to a disciplinary proceeding within the military.

The comments came as daily Berliner Zeitung reported that the Berlin state prosecutor, Wolfgang Kaleck, planned to file an appeal against the federal prosecutor’s decision. Kaleck is representing the human rights group ECCHR which, together with two lawyers from the German city of Bremen is acting for the families of the civilian victims of the attack.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

16:01 April 22, 2010 by scout1067
The left is going to keep digging until they find enough rope to hang zu Guttenburg with. The worst part is that zu Guttenburg is a stand-up guy, I have to give him respect for defending Klein who was originally set up to be the fall guy. Did everyone forget this is a real war and civilians sometimes die; especially civilians that flock to fuel tankers stolen by the Taliban apparently?

I think it is sad that the people on the left can only be brave in front of TV cameras and parliamentary committees. They have no clue what it is like to make a decision in a combat situation. Why doesn¦#39;t the left just own up and admit that they are cowards and they want everyone else to be cowards too?
12:14 April 23, 2010 by Prufrock2010
So it's cowardly to oppose killing innocent civilians who happen to live in a war zone not of their creation? Interesting point. I never thought of that.
Today's headlines
Outrage over ruling on 'brutal' gang rape of teen girl
The now convicted suspects, sitting in court in Hamburg. Photo: DPA.

A 14-year-old girl was gang-raped and left partially clothed and unconscious in freezing temperatures. Now prosecutors are appealing the sentences for the young men found guilty, most of whom will not set foot in jail.

Dozens of Turkish diplomats apply for asylum in Germany
Demonstrators holding a giant Turkish flag protest against the attempted coup in Istanbul in July. Photo: DPA.

Since the failed putsch attempt in Turkey in July, Germany has received 35 asylum applications from people with Turkish diplomatic passports, the Interior Ministry confirmed on Wednesday.

Hertha Berlin fan club criticised for 'anti-gay banner'
Hertha BSC beat FC Cologne 2-1. Photo: DPA

A 50 metre fan banner apparently mocking the idea of gay adoption has overshadowed Hertha BSC's win in the Bundesliga.

Germany stalls Chinese takeover of tech firm Aixtron
Aixtron headquarters in Herzogenrath. Photo: DPA

The German government on Monday said it had withdrawn approval for a Chinese firm to acquire Aixtron, a supplier to the semiconductor industry, amid growing unease over Chinese investment in German companies.

Politicians call for tough sentences for 'killer clowns'
File photo: DPA.

Now that the so-called 'killer clown' craze has spread from the US to Germany, elected officials are drawing a hard line against such "pranks", with some threatening offenders with jail time of up to a year.

Nearly one in ten Germans are severely disabled
Photo: DPA

New figures reveal that 9.3 percent of the German population last year were considered severely disabled.

The Local List
Germany's top 10 most surreal sites to visit
The Upside-Down House, in Mecklenburg–Western Pomerania. Photo: Olaf Meister / Wikimedia Commons

From upside-down houses on Baltic islands to a fairy-tale castle near the Austrian border, Germany is a treasure trove of the extraordinary.

Bavarian critics back Merkel for Chancellor again
Photo: DPA

The Christian Social Union (CSU) have long delayed backing Angela Merkel as their candidate for Chancellor in next year's general election. But now key leaders are supporting her publicly.

Four taken to hospital after hotel toilet bursts into flames
File photo: DPA.

Four guests at a Nuremberg hotel were taken to hospital due to smoke inhalation early Monday morning after a toilet there burst into flames.

Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German towns, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd