Wednesday, February 22, 2012
The case sent the Catholic Church into a deep crisis - and now will get the courts busy again: Due to a procedural error, the case of Holocaust denier Bishop Richard Williamson will be retried.
Nuremberg / Regensburg - A error in form makes a repeat of the trial of Holocaust denier Bishop Richard Williamson necessary. This has been decided by the Higher Regional Court of Nuremberg (OLG). The decision on Wednesday was based on the fact that the District Court of Regensburg in its judgement did not explain how and where exactly in Germany a controversial interview with the bishop had been published. But this was a prerequisite for prosecution for racial hatred.
The prosecution has the opportunity to bring the same matter again for the prosecution, the court stated. It was not in question that Bishop Williamson's alleged statement was not an offense. But the judges had determined that a criminal procedural failure, not correctable after the event, obtains in the proceedings.
The 71-year-old arch-conservative bishop of the SSPX gave an interview to a Swedish TV crew in October 2008 at the Seminary of the Society in Regensburg. In it, he denied the existence of gas chambers and the killing of millions of Jews by the Nazis. The interview aired in Sweden and was published on the Internet.
At the behest of the prosecutors, the District Court in Regensburg had fined Williamson for his statements in 2009 initially prompted by the penalty payment of 10,000 euro fine. When the bishop rejected this, the first trial took place. The district court confirmed the fine in 2010, but in 2011, this was reduced on appeal to the District Court at 6500 €. Against this Williamson lodged a new appeal, so that the Nuremberg Higher Regional Court was the third instance in the case.
Judgement is not detailed enough
According to the Court of Appeal, in the Court of the First Instance the punishment did not explain how and exactly where in Germany the interview the bishop had been published. Because the offense of racial hatred depended on the public dissemination of the passages, it was crucial.
The prosecution has announced that they will prepare very quickly, in response to the Court of Appeal's observations, a new penalty decree or an indictment. The prosecutors have the responsibility to prepare a new judgement, said the chief prosecutor in Regensburg,Wolfhard Meindl. The new indictment was expected to be completed in about five weeks.
The case had plunged the Catholic Church into a severe crisis. Because at the very time when the interview was made public, the Vatican announced the lifting of the excommunication of Williamson and three other bishops of the SSPX. Pope Benedict XVI. stated that he knew nothing of the interview.
Sentencing in the Mauthausen Process for crimes against humanity.
Regicide is an odious sin, for inasmuch you will kill your King, you will be prepared to kill the King of the Jews, and also the Jewish genocide, for inasmuch as you will kill the people of the King of the Jews, you will be prepared to kill the King of Kings. Bishop Williamson is fortunate to live almost seventy years after the trial and he can play ecclesiastical politics over matters of life and death, and get away with a fine of only 6500 euros. It is doubly unforgiveable given the damage he has done to the Catholic Church because that is a matter of the salvation of souls.
The locals in Mauthausen, just near Linz in Austria, claim, to this day, that their parents and grandparents did not know what was going on at the camp. Quite possibly, the ultimate origin of holocaust denial.