BERLIN/BAMAKO/ALGIER As did the German security services, the German judiciary now uses the kidnapping in Northwest Africa to extend their activities into other states. The German authorities are preparing international arrest warrants for the kidnappers of the hostages, recently released in Mali, to bring them to court. For the first time they utilize a law, passed last year, which enables them to prosecute ,,criminal and terrorist organisations"worldwide.
Earlier, the kidnapping of a group of tourists in the Sahara had been used to expand the sphere of influence and the range of application for the German security apparatus in Northwest Africa. During that process, members of the German Federal Armed Forces, the Federal Border Guard, the Federal Intelligence Service (BND), and the German ,,Anti-Terror-Force"GSG 9 had worked in territories of Algeria and Mali. They are now followed by the German judiciary.
Worldwide activity with §129
According to the German press, a special commission of the German Federal Police, with the aid of the Swiss police is working on international warrants for the arrest of the kidnappers of the German hostages recently freed in Mali. In particular, it can resort to the data gathered by the German Federal Intelligence Service during the kidnapping. The BND had, supposedly in order to support a peaceful conclusion to the kidnapping, built a direction finding station on Mali's territory.
To facilitate the prosecution for the German authorities, the warrants of arrest shall be based on ,,membership in a foreign terrorist organisation". Thus a law passed last year, which enables the German judiciary to prosecute ,,criminal and terrorist organisations abroad", is used for the first time. The new version of §129 of the criminal code provides for prosecution by German authorities, if either perpetrator or victim reside in Germany or a crime is planned to be committed in Germany. The vague Formulation of the new law makes it possible for the German judiciary to interfere in the internal affairs of other states.
Immediately after the release of the hostages, the German chancellor announced that the German security services would ,,support"the governments of Mali and Algeria in capturing the kidnappers. It has now been made public that a reconnaissance plane of the German Federal Armed Forces surveyed the territories of Algeria and Mali during the kidnapping. German chancellor Schröder now demands a continuing ,,close and trusting cooperation".
,,No one alive anymore"
At this event, the former Undersecretary of State in the Foreign Office, Mr. Volmer, recalled the kidnappers who took hostages, among them Germans, three years ago in the Philippines. Volmer stated that all definitive perpetrators had been killed after the hostages were released: ,,Not one leader of the kidnappers of Jolo is alive today."
Sahara-Geiseln sind frei; www.bundesregierung.de 20.08.2003
Kreise: Bemühungen um Festnahme der Sahara-Entführer laufen; reuters 24.08.2003
Bundesanwaltschaft vernimmt Sahara-Geiseln; reuters 25.08.2003
In den Gezeiten der Gefühle; Süddeutsche Zeitung 26.08.2003
Soko ,,Wüste"; Süddeutsche Zeitung 27.08.2003