German Press Review: Not Just a Belgian Problem | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 23.06.2004
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German Press Review: Not Just a Belgian Problem

German editorials on Wednesday devoted a good deal of space to the Dutroux murder trial in Belgium while others commented on the situation in Russia’s troubled Caucasus region after the latest deadly separatist attacks.

There was consensus among several German papers that cases like the Dutroux one are an international phenomenon. According to the Bonn-based General-Anzeiger, abusing children, abduction, rape and murder happen everywhere on a daily basis – also in Germany. And state organs also fail in Germany – one just needs to recall a recent case in Saarbrücken, where the juvenile authorities even handed over children into the care of convicted pedophiles, the paper noted. Then there are pictures in the Internet portraying sex with children, and of course the ever increasing violence in schools – a lot is sick in society, the daily concluded -- everywhere, not just in Belgium.

The Wetzlarer Neue Zeitung wrote that the case must give rise to concern that extremely disturbed people like Marc Dutroux can wreak havoc at any time and at any place in the world. Then you can only hope that a state will put a stop to their horrific deeds sooner than Belgium’s police and judiciary did in the case of Marc Dutroux.

The Thüringer Allgemeine agreed, saying that the fact that early tips-offs about the child molester Dutroux were ignored is not just a Belgian scandal. After all, the Erfurt daily pointed out, crime spreads to all countries via the Internet and the judicial authorities don’t step in and put an end to it.

Other German dailies commented on the Chechen rebel attacks in Russia’s southern region of Ingushetia, in which about 50 people were killed and dozens of others injured. The Reutlinger General-Anzeiger in Baden-Württemberg noted that Moscow propagates normalization: Russian President Vladimir Putin gives the impression that the Chechen conflict is in principle settled, but there can be no question of that, the daily said. Only last month, the murder of Moscow’s governor in Chechnya, Achmed Kadyrov, disproved that, it concluded.

The Nürnberger Nachrichten expressed a similar view, saying that the latest attacks should serve as another reminder both to Putin’s government and to the general public that the propaganda thesis that the Caucasus conflict is all but over and that isolated police raids against scattered “terrorists” and “bandits” are all that are needed is simply not true. The attacks demonstrate in a criminal way how false the assertion is that the resistance is being worn down or has even collapsed, the daily noted.