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NSU Trial in Munich - German Constitutional Court rules in favor of Turkish newspaper Sabah

April 13, 2013

Sources: 

Deutsche Welle

http://www.dw.de/foreign-journalists-granted-places-at-far-right-nsu-trial/a-16741260

"Germany's Constitutional Court on Friday ordered the upper regional court (OLG) in Munich to reserve "a suitable number of seats for representatives of foreign media with particular consideration to the victims of the alleged crimes."

YouTube

 

Sabah

http://english.sabah.com.tr/world/2013/04/10/sabah-hits-the-main-german-press-agenda

Quote:

A FIRST IN THE HISTORY OF GERMAN MEDIA

Despite the mainstream opinion floating in the German press that Turkish journalists should absolutely be allowed to witness this pertinent trial, the court continues to abide by its original ruling, which has opened the floodgates to widespread debate on the issue in Germany. SABAH's application to the Federal Constitutional Court is a historical first for German media. There has never been a case filed by another newspaper for not being allowed to enter a courtroom and as a result the German public is widely anticipating what the outcome will be. Television stations ZDF, ARD and RTL as well as newspapers, Spiegel, Focus, Die Welt, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Süddeutsche Zeitung and Bild have all reported on SABAH Europe's case filing and have widely quoted authorities from the newspaper.

End of Quote

 

My commentary: 

The Turkish newspaper Sabah took the initiative and went to the German Constitutional Court to seek a ruling that would result in instructing the Higher Regional Court in Munich to admit journalists from Turkey and Greece into the courtroom to witness the trial which begins on Wednesday.

It is only because of this Turkish newspaper that the trial will begin with Turkish and Greek media represented in the courtroom. Although the German government had urged the court in Munich to find a solution sensitive to Turkish and Greek media, the court in Munich did not do so, defending itself by stating it was following its regulation for accreditation applications, admitting 50 accredited media representatives on a first-come, first-served basis, rejecting Turkish and Greek representatives because they applied too late.

Although this might pertain to the applications for accreditation that the court received, it is, based on information available in the Spiegel article I quote below, "Gericht räumt Pannen bei Platzvergabe ein"  (in German), not true for the receipt of the accreditation rules emailed to journalists.

Some journalists, and that includes at least one Turkish journalist, may not have received these instructions at the same time others did because their email addresses were mistyped. These emails bounced back and the addresses had to be corrected first before the emails could be sent out again, this time successfully.

The mistake lies most likely with the court where the email addresses seem to have been input wrongly.

Furthermore, quite a few journalists might have known when to expect the email because they had contacted the court and inquired about the instructions. The Munich court's spokeswoman, Mrs. Margarete Nötzel, now admits she might have told a few interested journalists when the email with the accreditation instructions was going to be sent out. Because they knew when the email would arrive, a few journalists probably opened the email immediately upon receiving it and then applied immediately to the court where their applications were treated on a first come, first served basis.

What makes these revelations troublesome is that Mrs. Nötzel had previously stated that all emails with the instructions were sent out at the same time to the media, including Turkish media, even though she must have been aware of the fact that certain emails were mistyped and bounced back which she chose not to reveal in the interview. Her statement is available in a video interview published together with the Spiegel article I quoted in my previous post from April 6th. The video link was in the article but is no longer available there. So I put a link to it following the article link below. Nötzel's statement comes at 00:40 min. Here are the links:

http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/nsu-prozess-bundesregierung-fordert-zugang-fuer-tuerkische-journalisten-a-891295.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYdWAXiyf0I

Despite the fact that the court in Munich must have been aware of these mistakes, it stood by its refusal to do anything for the journalists from Turkey or Greece. What does that tell us about the court's transparency and willingness to admit mistakes and fix them?

The broader issue here is to what degree any German court is committed to supporting victims and media representatives with a specific connection to the victims. An additional aspect is the fact that  the Munich court's refusal to act in favor of the journalists occurs in connection with a trial against xenophobic neo-Nazi terrorists. The court in Munich should have considered the rights and valid interests of the Turkish and Greek media before it started the application and accreditation process for journalists. Upon learning about the mistakes that were made with the emails, the court should have restarted the accreditation process or rectified the situation with other means. But it did not do that.

Even if the accreditation process were started by giving everyone a fair chance, the first come, first served policy would still ignore the larger issue of making sure that those journalists who have a special interest in the trial and connection with the victims are given special consideration.

What does this mean for the next trial? Will the victims and their representatives have to act again to ensure what seems to be a common sense and human rights requirement and a duty of the courts - that  journalists representing the same group as the victims are guaranteed seats in the courtroom?

It doesn't shed a positive light on the court in Munich or the German justice system in general when such important aspects are first ignored and only considered when a complaint is filed with the German Federal Constitutional Court.

It is to the German Constitutional Court's credit that it decided swiftly to instruct the court in Munich to admit "a suitable number of seats for representatives of foreign media with particular consideration to the victims of the alleged crimes."

However, it is very much in the interest of Germany and its people to show next time that a certain number of such representatives are guaranteed access without having to first appeal to the German Constitutional Court.  It should be the duty of any court in Germany to avoid discrimination against foreigners or minority residents and citizens in Germany.  And it is important to Germany's image and reception in the world community as a country and people committed to uphold human rights and human dignity for everyone.

We will see on April 17th how the court in Munich will interpret and carry out the Constitutional Court's instructions.

 

Deutsch

Quellen:

Deutsche Welle

Ein Artikel von Chefredakteurin Ute Schaeffer

http://www.dw.de/kommentar-gute-entscheidung-vor-beginn-des-nsu-prozesses/a-16741555

Zitat:

Dieser Prozess ist keine rein-deutsche Angelegenheit. Deshalb sind natürlich die Ohren und Augen weltweit auf diesen Prozess gerichtet. Und wir sollten alles daran setzen, dass sie hinschauen und hinhören können. Nur so kann dem in ausländischen Medien geäußerten Eindruck entgegen getreten werden, es werde mit unterschiedlichem Maß gemessen, nicht entschlossen gehandelt oder nur halbherzig aufgeklärt.

Zitat Ende

Der Spiegel

Ein Artikel von Dietmar Hipp: Gericht räumt Pannen bei Platzvergabe ein

http://www.spiegel.de/panorama/justiz/sitzplatzvergabe-beim-nsu-prozess-anmeldung-mit-hindernissen-a-893659.html

Zitat 1:

Was das OLG zu den Abläufen ausführte, kommt allerdings einem Offenbarungseid gleich. So gibt die Pressesprecherin, die OLG-Richterin Margarete Nötzel, nun selbst zu, dass sie manchen Journalisten schon vorab Informationen zum Akkreditierungsverfahren gab: Pressevertretern, die sich in der Woche vor dem Beginn der Akkreditierung bei ihr meldeten.

Ihnen habe sie gesagt, sie hoffe, ab dem 4. März vom Senat die Sicherheitsverfügung zu erhalten. In der Verfügung werden die Bedingungen für die Akkreditierung festgelegt. Den Anrufern, fährt Nötzel in ihrer Stellungnahme für das Verfassungsgericht fort, habe sie mitgeteilt, dass sie die Bedingungen dann "frühestens am Morgen des darauf folgenden Werktages" der Presse nennen werde. Und: Sie halte es "nicht für ausgeschlossen", dass sie dabei auch sagte, dass dies "nicht vor 8 Uhr des dementsprechenden Werktages der Fall sein dürfte".

Zitat 1 Ende

 

Zitat 2:

Offenbar haben also etliche Journalisten, die mehr oder weniger zufällig in den Tagen vor der Bekanntgabe der Akkreditierungsbedingungen anriefen, zumindest einen deutlichen Hinweis bekommen, ab wann sie ihren E-Mail-Eingang besonders im Auge haben müssten. Und wo nötig, konnten die so informierten Journalisten auch dafür sorgen, dass jemand anderes für sie den E-Mail-Eingang überwacht und die Akkreditierung übernimmt.

Wer zufällig nicht in dieser Phase anrief - und dazu gehörte auch der "Sabah"-Korrespondent Erel - hatte diese Möglichkeit dagegen nicht.

Hinzu kommt: Während wohl die allermeisten Journalisten, die sich zuvor in den Presseverteiler des OLG zum NSU-Verfahren hatten aufnehmen lassen, am 5. März um 8.56 Uhr die Akkreditierungsmail erhielten, bekam Erel zu diesem Zeitpunkt: nichts. Erst um 9.15 Uhr - das hat nun das OLG selbst eingeräumt - bekam er diese Mail, andere womöglich sogar noch später.

Der Grund: technische Probleme beim Mail-Versand. Eigentlich sollte die Pressemitteilung mit der Sicherheitsverfügung um 8.30 Uhr versandt werden, teilte die zuständige Mitarbeiterin der Pressestelle nun dem Bundesverfassungsgericht mit. Doch nachdem sie "Senden" gedrückt habe, "kam die Meldung in einem neu geöffneten Fenster: 'Übermittlung unzustellbar: Fehler bei der Nachrichtenübermittlung an folgende Empfänger oder Gruppen'".

Schnell fand die Justizhauptsekretärin heraus, dass einige Adressen fehlerhaft eingegeben waren und deswegen die Mail insgesamt nicht gesendet worden war.

Zitat 2 Ende

 

Der Spiegel

Reaktionen zum obigen Artikel:

http://forum.spiegel.de/f22/nsu-prozess-gericht-raeumt-pannen-bei-platzvergabe-ein-87600-11.html

 

 Mein Kommentar: 
Ich schreibe diesen Eintrag, nachdem ich schon erfahren habe, dass der Prozess um fast einen Monat verschoben wird und das Akkreditierungsverfahren noch einmal von vorne losgeht.  Es scheint mir, dass das diesmal jedoch weitaus anders gemacht werden müsste, um wirklich eine faire Vertretung der türkischen und griechischen Presse zu garantieren. Wie vom Obersten Gerichtshof empfohlen, sollen mindestens drei Vertreter aus dieser Mediengruppe im Gerichtssaal anwesend sein. Ob dies repräsentativ ist und wie es erzielt werden soll, sei mal dahingestellt bzw. ist derzeit nicht bekannt.

 

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