Germany’s Wulff scandal: Overzealous

IN HIS journey from hubris to downfall and now redemption, Christian Wulff is a tragic Sophoclean character for many Germans. A former premier of Lower Saxony, Mr Wulff became Germany’s president in the summer of 2010. With his second wife, Bettina, he cut a glamorous figure. Then Bild, a tabloid, began hounding him. Mr Wulff reacted like a cornered animal, forfeiting the dignity of his office. When prosecutors in Lower Saxony began investigating him for corruption in February 2012, he had to resign. Germany’s press and public gloated.Their mood has turned. In the legal cultures of Anglo-Saxon countries prosecutors are understood to be adversaries of equally partial defence attorneys, overseen by neutral judges. But in Germany’s system, prosecutors must look for the truth, not just convictions. This means that they must explore exculpatory scenarios.Mr Wulff’s prosecutor, Clemens Eimterbäumer, and his boss, the attorney-general of Lower Saxony, Frank Lüttig, increasingly seemed to lose a sense of proportion. At the time Mr Wulff resigned, Mr Lüttig worked for Bernd Busemann, who was the state’s justice minister and a known political enemy…

Link to article: www.economist.com/news/europe/21597971-acquittal-makes-germans-reflect-their-prosecutors-overzealous?fsrc=rss|eur

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