Our theoretical concept: »Court and Trial as Space«

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By Forschungsgruppe Recht Raum NSU

To us ’space‘ means more than a material, physical place. We understand ’space‘ as a condition as well as a result of social and verbal actions. The court and the trial, considered as social space, is the basis of our research on the NSU-case. Which narrative and which history is newly written, created or reproduced in the NSU-trial? How is the court circumscribed as a space of its own in contrast to what or whom and with which instruments of power? These questions are directly linked to the question about which kinds of access to the NSU-trial exist or can be acquired. To what extend do spatial and discursive exclusions exist in the trial and why should they be problematised? We would like to discuss different accesses which make it possible to think critically about the NSU-trial. At the same time it does not mean, that we will be able to answer all these question and finally clear it up.

We conceive the NSU-trial as a discourse on its own. Discourse is understood as verbal and social actions, which are contested and take place under unequal conditions. Parallel to the NSU-trial there are other critical discourses from varying perspectives, for example in initiatives of the civil society, in the committees of inquiry or in the media. Which role does this ‚externally‘ created knowledge play in the NSU-trial? Further more we are interested in questions about which topics are part of the actual trial, how other discourses are delimited from it, and which topics are usually dropped or emphasized as a result of the agenda of the court and its senate.

Based on these thoughts, we want to discuss how certain topics and actions are negotiated in the trial and how this is manifested in the charge against the NSU and its supporters. Which political dimensions are emphasized or are left out in the trial? How does the accessory prosecution try to address insights from criminal investigations in the trial? Whereas the trial aims to conclude the NSU-complex, there has been a continuity of 220 committed crimes with references to the NSU since its self-exposure. For this, we ask which continuities are referred to in the NSU-complex, and how existing network-structures are left out of the trial or are even being denied.

Our perspective on social power relations problematises racism within the NSU trial. We want to take a closer look at the relationship of institutional racism and racism in German society. This means addressing victim-offender reversion, especially in regard to the criminalisation of the relatives of the victims as well as white knowledge and racism in the German judiciary.

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