Karlsruhe on reports for the protection of the constitution: stigmatization allowed

A fraternity and a women’s association appeared in reports from the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. That was legal, say the judges in Karlsruhe.

A woman in a sun hat holds a flag from the Courage Women's Association

Observed by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution: Courage at a Monday demonstration Photo: Steinach/imago

CARLSRUHE taz | In 2015, the Frankonia fraternity was allowed to be stigmatized as extremist in the Bavarian Office for the Protection of the Constitution because of its closeness to the NPD. The MLPD-affiliated women’s association Courage 2013 was allowed in the NRW listed as a suspect will. A chamber of the Federal Constitutional Court decided that in two separate decisions, which were published together this Tuesday – politically balanced.

In the case of the right-wing weekly newspaper in 2005, Karlsruhe already knew that mentioning it in a report for the protection of the constitution is an encroachment on fundamental rights young freedom decided. Back then it was about freedom of the press. The constitutional court has now left open which fundamental rights are involved when organizations such as Frankonia or Courage are mentioned. Freedom of association, freedom of opinion and general freedom of action come into consideration. Ultimately, however, the “level of protection” is always the same.

Mere criticism of the Basic Law is not enough

The Federal Constitutional Court used the two decisions to once again set the standards for an admissible Mention in constitutional protection reports to summarize. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution must remain “politically and ideologically neutral” and “objective” in the assessment. In addition, a legal regulation is required. If there is only “suspicion” that an extremist effort is involved, this must be made clear in the report.

According to the judges, the mention in the report for the protection of the constitution must not be disproportionate. It is therefore not sufficient that there are only isolated or less reliable findings against an organization. Mere criticism of the Basic Law is not enough, what is required is an “active combative attitude” aimed at eliminating the free democratic basic order (democracy, rule of law and human dignity) – whereby combative expressions of opinion are sufficient, the use of force is not important. Mere contacts with extremist organizations or personal ties alone are not enough for a mention in the report for the protection of the constitution.

The courts in Bavaria and North Rhine-Westphalia correctly applied these standards, the Federal Constitutional Court has now ruled. Frankonia’s and Courage’s lawsuits were dismissed on legitimate grounds. The fraternity had invited an NPD official to give a lecture. At a book fair there were stands from the NPD and other right-wing extremist organizations. A person in charge of the house association of the fraternity was a member of the NPD.

The Courage Women’s Association is pursuing itself no anti-constitutional goalsaccording to the courts, but supports the extremist goals of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Germany (MLPD), for example through joint events and greetings during the election campaign.

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