Germany’s Federal Court of Justice: the parliamentary committee of enquiry on the NSA has to question Snowden in person

Partial victory for the opposition in the parliamentary committee of inquiry on the NSA: Snowden has to be questioned in person, ruled the German Federal Court of Justice Today. The court stopped the blockage of the government against an invitation of the Whistleblower to Germany and forces a reaction from the Federal Government.

Edward Snowden im Livestream des Süddeutsche Zeitung Editors Lab. Screenshot: Youtube.

This is an English translation of the original German article. Translation by Florian Zechmeister.

Today’s decision of the Federal Court of Justice states that the committee of inquiry is obliged to hear Edward Snowden in person. The court’s decision follows the reasoning of Bundestag’s opposition.

By enforcing the decision and inviting Snowden as a witness, the committee of enquiry has to seek administrative assistance from the Federal Government. Therefore, the Federal Government is now forced to react and to comment on the case.

More than two years of dispute about Snowden’s hearing

The government has been fighting with the opposition for more than two years about a way to question Edward Snowden. Members of the opposition repetingly demanded a hearing in person as well as a guarantee by the federal government not to extradite Edward Snowden. However, so far the governing coalition has preferred other ways of contact such as video or a visit of the committee in Moscow. Snowden has rejected these proposals several times but offered to give testimony in Berlin in the past.

Martina Renner, chairwoman of the parliamentary inquiry on mass surveillance for DIE LINKE:

The ruling by the investigating judge of the Federal Court of Justice is a victory for the opposition. In its consequence, the coalition will not longer be able to deny Snowdens invitation by the committee of inquiry through shabby loopholes. He is still the most important witness and therefore must be heard now by the inquiry.

In addition, Martina Renner states that after the election of Trump the Federal Government has to decide whether they still want to be subject to US-Government or if they want to align themselves with human rights and a state under the rules of law instead. Renner goes on to say that the German government will now need to make up its mind whether it wants to bow to the US government or whether it wants to align with human rights and the rule of law instead.

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