With the NSU trial in Germany set to reconvene, the lead parliamentarian looking into investigative blunders by German authorities has issued a critical update. He said investigators were guilty of a "peerless failure."
As the sole surviving alleged NSU core member, Beate Zschäpe, prepared to return to court in Munich on Tuesday, German parliamentarians were again briefed on the problems investigating the neo-nazi cell.
The backlash from the uncovering of the NSU - whose killings of eight people with Turkish heritage, a Greek and a German policewoman between 2000 and 2007 were initially put down to organized crime among immigrant communities - led to the resignation of the head of Germany's federal domestic intelligence agency and some similar figures in affected states.
The head of a German parliamentary committee assigned with finding out what went wrong during the investigations, Social Democrat Sebastian Edathy, submitted an interim report on Monday, with his final paper due this summer.
Edathy spoke of a "peerless failure" in the case of the NSU investigation, "a shameful failure with many varying causes." He said, however, that there was no indication that the state covered for or supported the group, but criticized the intelligence agencies for underestimating the threat of right-wing extremism and for failing to convey its findings more publicly.
No news on disappearing documents
After asking witnesses about the shredding of potentially pertinent files in Cologne in November 2011, while the NSU was uncovered by chance following a botched bank robbery, Edathy admitted he had hit a dead end. It was not possible to ascertain whether the papers were trashed out of "pure stupidity" or out of a desire to conceal their contents, he said: "That will have to remain open."
Edathy's committee is scheduled to file its full report before the September federal elections, although parliamentary investigations into the open questions might continue after the ballot.
The NSU committed 10 alleged murders in a period of eight years under the radar of German law enforcement. Investigators stumbled across the group after a bank robbery; they then found two men who had committed suicide and a firearm belonging to the murdered German police officer and began to unravel the old cases.
The trial of the third alleged core NSU member Zschäpe and four alleged accomplices was set to reopen in Munich on Tuesday after its delayed start last week.
msh/jm (AFP, dpa, Reuters)