Over the span of seven years, 10 people--mostly ethnic minorities--were systematically murdered by a German neo-Nazi cell in "the most horrific string of racist killings in Germany's postwar history." But German authorities were only able to connect the dots after a botched bank robbery led to the deaths of two of the cell's members. Now, as the trial of five of the alleged members rolls into its fourth year, many Germans are asking how law enforcement and other authorities failed to notice the pattern of murders for so long.
From Foreign Policy:
There are plenty of explanations for what went wrong, ranging from bureaucratic rivalries between government agencies, to intelligence agents going too far to protect their informants, to outright institutionalized racism in German law enforcement. But victims' families say that more than five years of soul-searching have yet to produce satisfying answers, or any real accountability from the German state itself. Despite a 1,300-page investigation into the killings published by the Bundestag in 2013 and a public apology from Angela Merkel in 2012, some say they still haven't received an explanation as to why authorities behaved the way they did. Nor have they seen a single one of the hundreds of authorities involved in the case face criminal charges.
Now those families believe their last resort for justice is failing them, too. Among those standing trial in the Munich courtroom sits not one government employee, not one police officer, not one intelligence agent — not even an informant. When attorneys for the victims' families try to introduce evidence that could implicate German authorities, prosecutors object and the judges tend to forbid it.