Germany’s top court rejects bid to ban neo-Nazi party

From USA TODAY

BERLIN — Germany’s highest court on Tuesday rejected a bid to outlaw a far-right neo-Nazi party, ruling it did not pose a serious enough threat to the nation’s democratic system.

“There is currently a lack of concrete evidence to make it seem likely that (the party’s) actions will lead to success, which is why the court has unanimously rejected the motion as groundless,” the Federal Constitutional Court said in its verdict.

Lawmakers from the upper house of the German parliament, the Bundesrat, had filed suit against the National Democratic Party (NPD), arguing that “its racist, anti-Semitic program” violated Germany’s constitution and threatened democratic order.

The court disagreed, saying while the NPD’s views of wanting an ethnically defined, authoritarian system of government violated Germany’s constitution, the party lacks the means to realistically achieve its goals.

Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, called the ruling “disappointing” and “disconcerting.”

“Unfortunately, this verdict allows the NPD to pursue its destructive, anti-democratic activities and to spread more anti-Semitic and racist hatred,” he said in a statement.

The Central Council of Jews in Germany said the verdict was “a lost opportunity to take action against an inhumane party.”

“Jews are very clearly an enemy in the NPD’s eyes,” said Josef Schuster, the council’s president. “In light of the successes of right-wing populist parties, it is worth asking how far things must go before a party is outlawed.”

Bundesrat president Malu Dreyer said, “This verdict is anything but a carte blanche for the NPD. Their supporters are and remain enemies of democracy. … It is only a small step from right-wing populism to right-wing extremism. We have to remain vigilant.”

Peter Richter, an NPD member and the attorney who represented the party in the case, called the verdict “extremely encouraging” and said it allows the NPD to compete in elections.

“This is in any case a good signal for democracy and for the freedom of opinion in this country,” Richter said. “Now that this entire circus sideshow is finally over, we are really going to make an effort in the elections for the state legislature in Saarland on March 26.”

Tuesday’s verdict marks the second time the German government has tried to ban the NPD — and  failed. An earlier bid to outlaw the party was dismissed in 2003 after the constitutional court found that the NPD was too heavily infiltrated by government agents for a fair trial to take place.

According to Germany’s constitution, a political party must pose an earnest threat to the country’s democracy for it to be banned by the court.

The NPD has been declining in importance for years, said Timo Reinfrank of the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, an activist group that fights right-wing violence in Berlin. NPD membership has declined to only 5,000 members, top leadership positions are left unfilled, and the party is no longer represented in any of Germany’s state parliaments.

Reinfrank cautioned that the NPD could use this verdict to push for further acceptance of the party’s ideas. The NPD “can say that it is clear they are a normal party, so they need to be invited to political discussions, in schools or wherever,” he said. “This will be another bad step toward this new normalization of racist attitudes in Germany.”

The ruling comes as Germany grapples with the challenge of integrating more than 1 million refugees who have poured into its borders the past two years, as well as an uptick in right-wing violence.

In 2015, Germany’s domestic security agency attributed 1,408 violent crimes to right-wing extremists — a 42% increase from 2014. Last year’s numbers have not yet been released. The number of attacks on refugees and refugee shelters has increased nearly fivefold since 2014, according to Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office.

Richter said evidence shown in court failed to connect the NPD to recent anti-immigrant attacks.

Advertisements
Published in: on January 20, 2017 at 8:57 am  Leave a Comment  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: https://americannationalsocialist.com/2017/01/20/germanys-top-court-rejects-bid-to-ban-neo-nazi-party/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s