Opening by suchenfz



                Peace Palace · The Hague · The Netherlands · 31 May 2010

Remarks by Prof. Michael Buback, Professor at Göttingen University and son of Siegfried Buback,
late federal Public Prosecutor General in Germany, killed by the RAF in 1977

Your Highness, Excellencies, distinguished guests,

        It is an honour and a privilege to present the perspective of victims of terrorism at this
opening of the ICCT. It goes without saying that I can only talk about my personal views. I am not
representing any group of secondary victims of terrorism. Indeed, I am not even aware of any such

I suspect that the personal feelings of secondary victims are similar to those of people who have lost
relatives in traffic accidents or as a consequence of sudden, heavy illness. It is common to all these
cases that one has to carry the burden of losing a beloved person. Keeping this in mind, I do not
expect to be treated as a secondary victim in any special or overly friendly fashion. On the other hand,
I do not want to be used (or even misused) as a passive part of commemorations of an assassination.
Even more importantly, as a secondary victim I need to know with certitude that the investigations of
the crime have been carried out in the best possible way, that the thereby generated results are made
public in the ensuing trials, and that the murderers are accused and, if found guilty, are sentenced.
These more or less self-explanatory requirements are not met with the assassination of my father and
his two companions, for which massive failures and mistakes within the investigations have turned out
to be almost the rule rather than the exception.

My father was the Public Prosecutor General of the Federal Court of Justice and in this position he was
the top ranked prosecutor of Germany. He did not belong to any political party. He was appointed to
this outstanding position because of his capacity and experience and because of his deep devotion to
justice. Together with two companions, my father was on the way to his office in the city of Karlsruhe
on April 7, 1977 when two people on a motorbike approached the official car at a street crossing. The
person on the backseat of the motorbike fired at least 15 bullets killing my father and the driver. The
third person in the car died a few days later.

For about thirty years we completely trusted in the results of the official investigations. These said
that three men committed the crime, with two of them being on the motorbike and the third waiting

outside Karlsruhe in a car to pick up the other two. We had no reason to doubt the quality of the
investigations. Also my father-in-law was a Federal Public Prosecutor. He and my father were working
at the Federal Prosecutor’s office, which is the governmental agency in charge of directing the
investigations into terrorist crimes.

As private persons, my family did not try to interfere with these investigations. We were convinced
that the official institutions would do their very best to solve the crime, identify the murderers and
make sure that they were sentenced for this threefold slaughter. We would most likely be convinced
even today that the two Karlsruhe trials resulted in adequate judgements except that, about three
years ago, we were informed of serious concerns with these verdicts.

Time does not permit me to go into any detail today. However I will present an outline of what has
come to light. Those who are interested in the detailed aspects may read my book which is entitled
“The second death of my father”. His first death was being killed by terrorists. By now we know that
there is something in addition. This we designate his second death: The investigations have not been
carried out in a proper way and strong evidence suggests that a female person was complicit in the
Karlsruhe assassination, but has experienced protection and shielding by a few people in relevant
official institutions.

Clear evidence has now emerged that the two people on the motorbike are not among the three
people who have been sentenced for the assassination. As these three are the only officially guilty
parties for the Karlsruhe murders, this finding is equivalent to stating that the actual Karlsruhe
murderers have not been accused and have not been sentenced. Thus they have not spent a single
day in custody for the threefold murder. Since my wife and I started to have a closer look into the
investigations three years ago, a vast body of novel and alarming insights into the Karlsruhe
assassination has arisen.

There are three new suspects. Of course their names are publicly known, but here I will just refer to
them as persons A, B, and C, two male, A and C, and one female, B. Assuming the official
investigations, past and present, are not fully misguided, the two murderers on the motorbike must be
among these three people. The male person A has only been incriminated by two former terrorists
and no firm evidence for him being one of the direct Karlsruhe murderers has emerged from the
investigations. Thus it appears unlikely that A was on either the front or the back seat of the
motorbike. The opposite is true for the female person B and for the male person C. According to the
accumulated evidence they should be the persons who committed the assassination from the

Both B and C were arrested about one month after the Karlsruhe murders close to the Swiss border.
They were in possession of the machine gun that definitely was the weapon with which my father and

his companions were killed. Moreover, a Suzuki screwdriver was found with these two people. Exactly
the same type of screwdriver was missing from the toolkit of the Suzuki motorbike that was used for
the Karlsruhe assassination. It is further known that the man C rented the motorbike. There is also
evidence indicating that a hair found in one of the assassins´ helmets is identical to hair of the female
person B. In addition, it has become clear that B and C jointly committed a bank robbery in Cologne
five days after the Karlsruhe crime, which evidences that they were ‘hunting’ together at the time.

Further evidence for B and C being the Karlsruhe murderers comes from reports of many
eyewitnesses who saw a larger man on the front seat and a smaller woman on the back seat of the
motorbike. The sizes reported for the two people on the motorbike closely match the sizes of B and C.
About a dozen witnesses saw this couple at or close to the location of the crime on either the day
before the assassination, but also about half an hour before the murders, even during the killings and
about 15 minutes afterwards, just before the terrorists abandoned the motorbike and were driven
away from the critical region of Karlsruhe. The number of eyewitnesses who saw a slim, small female
person on the motorbike has by now increased to 19. Two further eyewitnesses saw a slim, small
female person the day before the assassination in a car at the site of the crime. One of these two
eyewitnesses could even identify this female person to be suspect B.

Despite the large number of strong and firm arguments for B and C being the murderers, neither of
them was even accused of this crime, let alone sentenced for it. On the other hand, B and C were
accused of attempted murder of two policemen who were seeking to inspect their passports. During
the subsequent trials for attempted murder, it was already clear that the two policemen had no long-
term injuries. They were already back at work and they acted as witnesses in these trials, which
resulted in both B and C being handed double life-sentences. The appeal for clemency of the female
person B was successful and she was released from prison after 9 years and two months.

The life-long sentence for attempted murders was useful for B and C in that they had not been
accused of the Karlsruhe assassination and the investigations against them, related to this case, were
stopped because of the life sentences they already had. In the case of suspect C the Karlsruhe
assassination even came to be considered as a minor criminal act. Now that the truth of events has
become clearer, this decision is felt by us secondary victims to be like a heavy blow to the head. For
technical juristic reasons, the male person C can no longer be accused of the Karlsruhe assassination.

This situation started to become intolerable for my family and me about two years ago. Our
arguments were rejected by the officials responsible for the investigations and we felt strong
opposition. As the public authority was of a different opinion, the majority of the media did not follow
nor consider our arguments.

Fortunately there have been a few important exceptions to this. I would like to mention the eminent
help we had from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, in which two articles reported on my struggle
and opined that there is an ongoing scandal in relation to my father’s death. Another comment that
was extremely helpful for me came from the former head of the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA).
He was in this position when my father died and stayed in it for 6 more years. He told me and my
wife that he believed for thirty years that the female person B was sentenced to life for the Karlsruhe
assassination. It was only from my public struggle for justice and for the truth that he realized that B
was sentenced merely for attempted murder of the two policemen.

As my father was engaged for justice during his entire life and as he had lost his life in fighting
against terrorist crimes, I had enormous difficulty to understand why a female person was protected
from criminal prosecution. It was shocking to find out that not one of the 21 eyewitnesses who saw a
female person either on the motorbike or in the car was cited to present this observation to the court.
As a consequence, this important information has not been presented to the court in either of the two
trials for the assassination. For the lawyers of the male persons accused of having been the shooter
on the motorbike, this information would have been of utmost relevance. Moreover, not one of the
significant number of witnesses, who reported having probably or definitely seen a female person on
the backseat, was asked to identify the female suspect B. The other male suspects were confronted
with eyewitnesses. The only reasonable explanation for these otherwise incomprehensible failures and
mistakes is that the female person B cooperated with secret service agencies.

Her cooperation with the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution has now been admitted,
although details about the type and duration of this irritating interaction are still unclear. Needless to
say, I am extremely concerned about the cooperation between government institutions and a terrorist
who has been sentenced for attempted murder and moreover is suspected of having killed the Federal
Prosecutor General and his two companions. This issue needs to be solved. Nowadays German
soldiers are fighting against terrorism in Afghanistan. Thus it urgently needs to be disclosed whether
highly ranked individuals in government positions have in the past established and maintained
cooperations with terrorists.

The situation became highly frustrating about one-and-a-half years ago when we learned that the
investigations against the female suspect B would soon be closed. As no clear evidence could be
found against A, and as the male person C cannot be accused any more, closing the case against B
would inevitably destroy the last chance to officially find at least one of the Karlsruhe murderers.

While we were very disappointed about this development, something very remarkable happened
during the 2009 summer, namely a house search was undertaken in suspect B’s home. The tapping of
her telephone had revealed that she was about to start writing her memories of the “Buback story”,
with a clear focus on revealing aspects of the assassination and of her participation in it. She was

arrested for about 4 months and has now been accused of having contributed to the crime. It seems
that she became affected by the public attention that has been generated by a couple of my
interviews in newspapers and talk shows.

We are now waiting for the decision of the Court in Stuttgart whether the accusation of active
participation of B will be accepted. I will try to participate in a forthcoming trial as a plaintiff, a
position which entitles me to access all files on the case, including the ones which are still, after about
30 years, kept secret. Unfortunately, a large fraction of the material from the primary investigations
has been annihilated in 1994. It is hard to understand why files have been destroyed for a murder
case that is not subject to time restrictions and which undoubtedly is not yet solved.

What is the lesson to be learned from all that I have told you today? First of all, once secret services
come into play, any situation becomes very complex, even if the murder itself does not seem to be
overly difficult to solve. Because of the interplay of city police, state police, federal police, secret
services, prosecutors and courts of justice, the only way failures can be avoided is if there is a joint
action of the ministries of the interior and of justice on both the state and the federal levels and,
because of the international aspects, of the ministry of foreign affairs.

Investigations into terrorist activities face numerous major problems. Penetration into terrorist
structures almost by definition requires some criminal activities. Clear instructions must be made to
limit the type and extent to which cooperation with terrorist activities may be tolerated. Referring to
the special case of my father, I would think that there should be general agreement that murder and
other heavy crimes should under no circumstances be tolerated. In addition to clear regulations and
instructions, control by independent authorities is mandatory. This is of utmost importance, as
unlimited freedom for arbitrary action may give rise to misuse. It must definitely be ruled out that
terrorist violence is used as an umbrella under which criminal acts are carried out that serve other

We have been through very difficult times. It was frustrating to see that the upcoming important
evidence was not adequately considered. Even worse, as a relative of a victim, I was dismissed as
being traumatized, incompetent, and a victim of conspiracy theories. This is not what a professor of
chemistry and a member of the Göttingen Academy of Sciences likes to hear. Even more so, as my
profession is all about analyzing complex systems and situations. I look forward to debates on all our
new insights and I am also prepared to modify or even correct my views in the event that compelling
counter-arguments are presented.

More than once we wished for some institution that might help us in the desperate situation of highly
ranked officials opposing our carefully arrived-at findings. I was in the extremely difficult position of
having to question the actions of a Federal Prosecutor General, the successor of my father. I tried to

approach the federal ministry of justice, but could not expect too much from this initiative, as this
ministry has the twofold duty of directing as well as controlling the Federal Prosecutor General.

Although our case is by now more or less solved, I would be more than happy if this new institute, the
ICCT, could become a valuable and strong partner to assist secondary victims in their fight for justice
and for the truth. It goes without saying that solving terrorist crime is nothing to be primarily done for
the victims’ families. To fully understand and thus to be able to oppose terrorism, each individual
crime must be solved and all contributions to the crime must be disclosed. Otherwise statements on
terrorism may, to a larger extent, reflect the personal views of those who comment than they reflect
historical truth. Hopefully, I should better say certainly, the ICCT will soon overcome the many
dilemmas and gain broad international recognition as the institution addressing general aspects of
counter-terrorism, with the aim of protecting freedom within individual nations and within the
European community. This will be for the benefit and safety of democratic structures worldwide.

   Please note that the views expressed in this statement are the author’s owns, and do not necessarily reflect the views or
                            policies of the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague


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