20 April 2012

Bankruptcy of a Trial

After 18 months and more than 80 trial dates, judge Steinmetz proclaimed that there were yet more surprises in this trial. The fact itself seems surprising – one would assume that after all this time, and after the prosecution had already made its closing statement, everything that could possibly be said had been said and that every fact had been presented and examined by the court. But maybe it's not so surprising.

The situation the court finds itself in now, where the court is now faced with new evidential applications after everything seemed to have come to a close twice, is the result of the approach the court has taken throughout the trial. The court has attempted to judge an event that took place off the coast of Somalia, by Somali people, from within the context of the German judicial system. One of the manifestations of this is the fact that the court has consistently relied on European expert witnesses and has denied the defence the opportunity of calling witnesses from Somalia.

The approach to judge the events that led to the attack on the Taipan by peeking with German eyes through a keyhole at the reality of life in Somalia has failed. The attempt to find an absolute truth within the binary true/false logic of European thinking has led to the bankruptcy of this trial.

The question is, will judge Steinmetz realise this, and if he does, what will the consequences be?