German panel on neo-Nazi NSU terror concludes with harsh criticism of police | News | DW | 16.05.2013
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German panel on neo-Nazi NSU terror concludes with harsh criticism of police

A panel investigating right-wing terrorism has concluded that police failed in their duties and require reform. The panel reached its conclusion after a year long review of the National Socialist Underground case.

Sebastian Edathy, a Social Democrat (SPD) and the chairman of the German parliamentary panel investigating the case, said police and media investigated the NSU crimes - including the murders of several from migrant communities - wearing blinders, or worse: blinded by prejudice.

Edathy added that state and federal security services had not adequately changed in light of the failures and that the danger of right-wing extremism remained dangerously underestimated.

"And it cannot be repeated," Edathy said. He drew attention to "multiple" and "historically unprecedented" failures.

The NSU's murders of eight people with Turkish heritage, a Greek and a German policewoman between 2000 and 2007 were initially put down to organized crime within migrant communities.

Backlash from the uncovering of the NSU has led to the resignation of the head of Germany's federal domestic intelligence agency and other personnel in the states concerned.

A way forward

SPD Chairwoman Eva Högl said that the deep failures offer a bitter insight into right-wing extremism in Germany, which for many years had been played down. As a result, the NSU was able to spend the better part of a decade getting away with murder.

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Initial findings from investigation

The panel had spent 15 months investigating the crimes and the breakdown in the investigations that allowed the culprits to go unpunished for so long. The result is a series of suggested improvements for how officials carry out future investigations.

On Thursday, Barbara John, the federal ombudswoman for victims of the NSU crimes, recommended a new anti-racism institute and a foundation for the remembrance of victims of right-wing terrorism.

Another suggestion is that in cases of violence against members of migrant communities, police should look into any potential for right-wing involvement. John also recommended an independent office to investigate police misconduct.

mkg/jm (AFP, dpa)

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