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Parliamentary commitee chairman decries 'failures' of NSU investigators

The chairman of a German parliamentary inquiry says incompetence was to blame for the failure of investigators to link a series of murders to right-wing extremists. The committee is set to release its final report.

The chairman of the Bundestag committee told the German public radio station NDR that the inquiry had uncovered failures in how both the police and intelligence services investigated the murders of eight Turkish merchants, a Greek man, and a policewoman between 2000 and 2007.

"We have come to the clear conclusion that what we are dealing with here is a massive failure of the authorities," Sebastian Edathy (pictured) said, adding that it was caused by "a drastic underestimation of the danger posed by the extreme right in Germany, who are prepared to resort to violence."

At the same time, the Social Democrat member of parliament rejected the suggestion that the authorities had deliberately ignored indications that racism was a motive behind the murders.

"We found no indication that the authorities knew who was behind the crimes at the time they were committed, or that they looked the other way or supported the perpetrators," Edathy said.

The committee, assigned to look into the work of Germany police and intelligence services who investigated the murders, was to release its final report later in the day.

Police didn't connect the murders to the National Socialist Underground, a self-styled far-right cell, until two of its members were found dead in November of 2011. The two suspects are thought to have robbed a bank near the eastern city of Eisenach before taking their own lives to avoid arrest.

The only surviving member of the cell, Beate Zschäpe, is accused of burning down their apartment in the eastern city of Zwickau to help cover up their tracks.

She is one of four suspects currently on trial on accusations of aiding and abetting the alleged murderers.

pfd/ (AFP, EPD, dpa)