BERLIN — Beate Zschaepe, a 38-year-old member of the neo-Nazi cell NSU, must stand trial on charges of killing 10 people as part of a plan to terrorize minorities and force them to leave the country, a German court ruled.
Four supporters will be tried alongside Zschaepe for forming a terrorism group, the Munich Higher Regional Court said Friday. The cell’s activities came to light in 2011 when NSU members Uwe Boehnhardt and Uwe Mundlos committed suicide in a camping van in the central German city of Eisenach.
A trial hasn’t been scheduled and isn’t expected to begin before April, the court said in an emailed statement.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has called the crimes a “disgrace for Germany.”
Authorities have struggled to explain the failure to uncover the three-person cell that allegedly committed crimes across the country for over a decade, including 15 robberies to finance the group.
The chief of Germany’s counter-intelligence force quit amid the scandal, which revealed that files detailing government surveillance of the group were destroyed.
The murders took place throughout the country, in cities such as Nuremberg, Munich, Hamburg, and Dortmund, and targeted men with immigrant backgrounds.
Police have also tied the NSU to a bomb attack in Cologne in 2004 that injured more than a dozen people, mostly of Turkish origin.
Wolfgang Stahl, Zschaepe’s lawyer, declined to comment on the ruling. The defense has said before that the facts don’t support charging Zschaepe with murder.
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