DThe NSU terrorist sentenced to life imprisonment Beate Zschäpe failed with her constitutional complaint in Karlsruhe. The Federal Constitutional Court announced on Monday that it was neither explained nor obvious that the 47-year-old’s basic judicial rights had been violated. In particular, Zschäpe complained that the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) had rejected her appeal in a written decision without prior hearing. (Az. 2 BvR 2222/21)
Of the BGH confirmed Zschäpe’s conviction as an accomplice in the racially motivated series of murders by the “National Socialist Underground” in August 2021. The sentence that the Munich Higher Regional Court (OLG) imposed on the only survivor of the NSU trio in 2018 after more than five years and more than 400 days of trial became final: life imprisonment if the guilt was particularly serious. This means that early release from prison after 15 years is legally possible, but in practice it is almost impossible.
Zschäpe had with her friends Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt lived underground for almost 14 years. During this time, the right-wing terrorists of the NSU spread fear and terror without being recognized: Between September 2000 and April 2007, the two men murdered eight small business owners of Turkish origin and one small business owner with Greek origin, as well as a policewoman. It was only revealed who was behind the nationwide series of murders, attacks and robberies when Mundlos and Böhnhardt took their own lives in 2011 to avoid arrest. As agreed, Zschäpe set fire to the shared apartment, sent a confession video and turned himself in.
The biggest question was always whether the Munich court rightly made Zschäpe jointly responsible for all these acts as a multiple murderer. Because there is no evidence that she herself was at any of the crime scenes. After months of examination, the top criminal judges of the BGH had no concerns. They decided that Zschäpe helped plan all the crimes, covered the absence of her accomplices and was ready for the publication of the important confession video. “It therefore performed an essential function on which the success of the overall project depended.”