Banning Germany's Far Right: 'The NPD Has No Need for Legal Protection'
In an effort to preempt a ban on its existence, Germany's far-right NPD party has taken the unusual step of asking the country's high court to confirm its constitutionality. The request isn't likely to be taken seriously, legal expert Martin Morlok explains.
SPIEGEL: The right-wing extremist National Democratic Party (NPD) wants the Federal Constitutional Court to determine whether the party is in violation of the German constitution. Is such a request even possible?
SPIEGEL: The NPD argues that it must be allowed to legally defend itself against the ongoing debate over whether the party should be banned.
Morlok: I understand that in a certain sense. For years now, this renewed move to ban the party has hung over the NPD's head like a sword of Damocles, without any concrete steps having been taken. But they still don't have any need for legal protection. As long as the NPD isn't banned, it can exercise all of its political rights. And in cases of concrete disadvantage, for instance with candidates for office, they can defend themselves in court.
SPIEGEL: The NPD complaint is also directed at German parliamentarians who have time and again branded the party unconstitutional and called for a ban.
Morlok: That's an issue for the lower courts, not the Federal Constitutional Court. Plus, the NPD would have to file a complaint claiming its rights had been violated by parliament members within six months. And most of the statements the NPD lists in its complaint are older than that.
SPIEGEL: But in principal the party could take legal action?
SPIEGEL: The NPD has said that, should it be unsuccessful before the German high court, it would continue on to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Is the complaint just a bid to end up in front of an international court as quickly as possible?
Morlok: That's conceivable, but there too they won't be able to get preemptive protection. I think the whole thing is a nice gag, but not legally well thought out.
Interview conducted by Dietmar Hipp
© SPIEGEL ONLINE 2012
All Rights Reserved
Reproduction only allowed with the permission of SPIEGELnet GmbH
Click on the links below for more information about DER SPIEGEL's history, how to subscribe or purchase the latest issue of the German-language edition in print or digital form or how to obtain rights to reprint SPIEGEL articles.
- Frequently Asked Questions: Everything You Need to Know about DER SPIEGEL
- Six Decades of Quality Journalism: The History of DER SPIEGEL
- A New Home in HafenCity: SPIEGEL's New Hamburg HQ
- Reprints: How To License SPIEGEL Articles