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Identitarians mark success in Cologne court

The decision of the Administrative Court of Cologne confirms the legal opinion of the Identitarian Movement Germany that there are no new points of view justifying the reclassification as "right-wing extremist".

Published: September 26, 2019, 11:47 am

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    The German domestic spy agency, known as the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) had classified the Identitarian Movement (IB) as “right-wing extremist”.

    Already at this time it was clear that the upgrading of the former “suspected case” of so-called extremism was more politically and ideologically motivated and had little legal and argumentative substance.

    The mainstream media, however, did not care much about this salient fact and they took the opportunity to draw a distorted image of a supposedly extremist youth movement.

    Immediately after the decision, the IB filed an interim injunction before the Administrative Court of Cologne against the revaluation as “right-wing extremist”. Accordingly, it has forbidden the domestic spy agency to designate the Identitarian Movement as such until a firm decision.

    First and foremost, the court on Wednesday ruled that there was no valid reason why the Office for the Protection of the Constitution made this reassessment. The press release of the BfV also provided no new findings that would justify the classification as “certain right-wing extremist”.

    The IB lawyer in the proceedings, Gerhard Vierfuß commented as follows: “If such considerations does not exist – and did not exist – at the time the Constitutional Protection Report was drafted in 2018, they are not there. This means that the suspicion is confirmed that the reclassification by the BfV was done solely for political reasons. This is a worrying finding in a state that wants to be a constitutional state.”

    Now it is considered probable that the BfV will object to this decision within a two-week period.

    Nevertheless, this decision of the Administrative Court provides a firm base for the IB’s legal success prospects.

    The Cologne Administrative Court has thus prohibited the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution from calling the IB a group with “certain right-wing extremist aspiration”.

    In December 2018 and January 2019, the Ministry of the Interior had assured the Berlin Administrative Court that the Identity Movement in the context of right-wing extremism would only be mentioned as a “suspected case”, as long as the group was listed as such in the reports of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution.

    However, the domestic secret service called the IB in a press release of July this year as a group with “certain right-wing extremist aspirations against the liberal democratic basic order”. The judges interpreted this as a violation of the assurances of the ministry.

    The Communication of the Protection of the Constitution had violated the IB’s social rights to respect guaranteed by the general personality right as well as its fundamental right to free expression of opinion.

    IB boss Daniel Fiss told Berlin weekly Junge Freiheit: “For us it is clear that now it will go into the hot phase of legal confrontation with the Protection of the Constitution.”

    In this process, the Identitarian Movement is fighting “on a decision-making front that could point the way for all patriotic actors in this country”. He added: “Patriotic activism and youth work must continue to be legitimate.”

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