Germany apologizes for neo-Nazi murders

A previously unknown neo-Nazi cell, the National Socialist Underground (NSU), is alleged to have carried out the murders of the eight Turks, a Greek and a policewoman over a period from 2000 to 2007

Germany apologizes for neo-Nazi murders

World Bulletin/News Desk

Germany has apologized for the neo-Nazi killings of 10 people, including eight Turks, one Greek national and a German policewoman, describing them as the “worst human rights contraventions in Germany” recently.

The murders by neo-Nazis were "without doubt the worst human rights contraventions in Germany in the last decades," Markus Löning, human rights ombudsman to the German government, told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on Thursday, German media reported on the same day.

Löning added that the German president and chancellor had already apologized to the families of the victims and also apologized for the fact that several relatives were mistakenly treated as suspects during the investigations.

"I would like to expressly repeat this apology here before this forum," Löning stated. "Prosecution authorities failed to identify the motives and therefore did not catch the murderers."

A previously unknown neo-Nazi cell, the National Socialist Underground (NSU), is alleged to have carried out the murders of the eight Turks, a Greek and a policewoman over a period from 2000 to 2007. The German ombudsman's apology came in response to a speech by Turkey's UN ambassador, Oğuz Demiralp, who called on Germany to make extra efforts to curb far-right violence against foreigners.

Demiralp told the UN council that the 3 million Turks in Germany were growing "increasingly anxious" in the face of "growing xenophobia" after revelations of the neo-Nazi murders. On Thursday, Germany was being discussed at the UN council, as the UN body is revisiting the human rights situation in all member countries. The council will make recommendations by next week.

A Munich court is now trying several suspects as part of the widening investigation into the case. The focus of the trial will be a 38-year-old woman, Beate Zschaepe, accused of being an NSU founding member and of involvement in the murders. Four suspected male accomplices are also on trial. The existence of the cell came to light by chance after two members committed suicide after a botched bank robbery and Zschaepe allegedly set fire to an apartment used by the gang.

At a memorial ceremony for the victims last year, Chancellor Angela Merkel begged the families for forgiveness for Germany's failings and pledged to take action against neo-Nazis. “We mourn with you,” she told the relatives of the victims, promising to do everything possible to prevent a repeat of the “cold-blooded” murders. "The murders ... are a disgrace for our country," Merkel said during a memorial event at a Berlin concert house, attended by most of Germany's top officials and relatives of the victims.

She pledged to do everything possible to clear up what happened. Merkel acknowledged that for a long time few people imagined far-right terrorists could be behind the killings -- "That led instead to a search for clues in the mafia and drug scene, or even among the families of the victims." "For years, some relatives themselves unfairly faced suspicion -- that is particularly oppressive," Merkel said. "I ask for forgiveness for that."

Concern over far-right violence has flared periodically in Germany over the past two decades, but the country has not previously seen anything like the campaign of murder attributed to the NSU.

Last Mod: 27 Nisan 2013, 08:45
Add Comment