• Germany's news in English

Former chief judge backs exploring NPD ban

The Local · 26 Nov 2011, 11:31

Published: 26 Nov 2011 11:31 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

But those behind a new petition should take care not to re-create the mistakes made in the earlier case, Winfried Hassemer, the ex-head of the Germany's Constitutional Court, told the Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper Saturday.

A recent poll showed that more than three-quarters of those surveyed want the NPD outlawed.

Hassemer led the court when it ruled in 2003 that the NPD could not be banned because the German government had used party members as informers. A minority of three of seven judges voted against the ban because they couldn’t be sure that neo-Nazi material had been produced by actual party members, Hassemer said.

“The evidence wasn’t clean,” Hassemer said. “It was possible that some NPD writings that were a violation of the constitution were not written by NPD members, but by informers. This muddiness eliminates the chance of a fair proceeding.”

But the former judge said the court back then did not categorically rule out an NPD ban. He refused to outline in detail what needed to be in a new application saying, “I’m not the federal government’s legal advisor.”

But given what went wrong last time, those behind a new petition should take care to separate out the involvement of government informers from other party members.

Asked whether he, as a citizen, would favour a ban, Hassemer said, “I personally am not a fan of legal methods that have only a symbolic effect. The ability to ban a party is an indispensable, but long-term concept that won’t immediately change the problems that we find ourselves in at the moment.”

Story continues below…

The Local/mw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

17:27 November 26, 2011 by mos101392
The Nazis are simply the same today as they were 70 yrs ago, thieves and murderers. Can't understand why there even has to be a discussion about banning a violent, racist organization. There is in my view no need to be politically correct by allowing the NPD to use "Democracy" as their legitimate right to exist. We all know how they would treat everyone else if they were in power. Any party/organization must first show they are non violent to be involved in the democratic process. Period!
18:18 November 26, 2011 by JAMessersmith
History repeating itself? Hitler and the Nazi party were banned back in the 20s... lot of good that did.

No matter if the party is banned, you cannot ban an idea. Yes, today's Nazis ARE the same murderers and thieves from 70 years ago, but banning their party won't make them go away. It very well could have the opposite effect.

Banning Mein Kampf, for example, didn't make Hitler's ideas go away. In fact, it may have made his ideas more attractive to a certain demographic. People who are anti-social, or angry at society for whatever reason are generally attracted to things "the system" has banned. The thought process goes; if the government fears this book so much, there must be something to it.

By banning the NPD, the German government and people wouldn't be displaying very much confidence in their system. A true democracy is made up of many competing ideas; some good, some bad, some nice, some mean, some peaceful and some violent. In America, for example, there are plenty of strange parties, from the National Socialist Party of America, to Lyndon LaRouche's nut bag Party. They all technically exist, but no one ever pays any attention to them. A much better idea would be to allow the NPD to toil away in obscurity, as they have been doing, rather than shining a spotlight on them and giving them a microphone to voice their opinions (which is all a ban would accomplish). Suddenly, Udo Voigt would be relevant, an instant celebrity in the eyes of the disaffected (i.e. if the government is so afraid of him, he must be doing something right). It's all about psychology, and I wouldn't doubt that the NPD would welcome a ban for this very reason.
10:21 November 27, 2011 by catjones
The fear is not the npd or what it represents; the fear is it's attraction to the german people, otherwise why the fear of such a tiny minority unless it's message is spreading?
Today's headlines
Berlin Holocaust memorial could not be built now: creator
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

The architect of the Berlin Holocaust memorial has said that, if he tried to build the monument again today, it would not be possible due to rising xenophobia and anti-Semitism in Germany and the United States.

'Liberal' Germany stopping Europe's 'slide into barbarism'
Ian Kershaw. Photo: DPA

Europe is not slipping into the same dark tunnel of hate and nationalism that it did in the 1930s - mainly thanks to Germany - one of the continent's leading historians has said.

Eurowings strike to hit 40,000 passengers
Travelers impacted by the strike on Thursday wait at Cologne Bonn airport. Photo: DPA.

The day-long strike by a Eurowings cabin crew union is expected to impact some 40,000 passengers on Thursday as hundreds of flights have been cancelled.

Deutsche Bank reports surprise quarter billion profit
Photo: DPA

Troubled German lender Deutsche Bank reported Thursday a surprise €256-million profit in the third quarter, compared with a loss of more than six billion in the same period last year.

US 'warned Merkel' against Chinese takeover of tech firm
Aixtron HQ. Photo: DPA

The German government withdrew its approval for a Chinese firm to purchase Aixtron, which makes semiconductor equipment, after the US secret services raised security concerns, a German media report said Wednesday.

Long-vanished German car brand joins electric race
Photo: DPA

Cars bearing the stamp of once-defunct manufacturer Borgward will once again roll off an assembly line in north Germany from 2018, the firm said Wednesday.

Eurowings cabin crew union to strike all day Thursday
Photo: DPA.

UPDATE: A union representing cabin crews on Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings has announced that strikes will last all day Thursday as ongoing contract negotiations continue to falter.

Hesse hopes to set example by building Iraqi orphanages
Refugee children in northern Iraq. Photo: DPA

The wealthy central German state of Hesse has set aside €1 million to build a school, family homes and an orphanage in northern Iraq, in an effort to help refugees there.

The Local List
10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
David Hasselhoff. Photo: DPA

Whether it be efficiency, humourlessness or a love of a certain Baywatch star, there are many cliches stuck in the heads of foreigners about Germany. But how true are they?

Fake Germanwings victim relative convicted in Cologne
A torn piece of metal at the crash site in 2015. Photo: DPA

A German court on Wednesday gave a woman a year's suspended jail sentence for posing as the cousin of a victim in last year's Germanwings plane crash and obtaining compensation offered by the airline.

10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
10 ways German completely messes up your English
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
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
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd