You don’t make deals with organized crime

By Jan Schilde

The perpetrators of the Berlin Remmo clan got away with mild sentences after the spectacular art theft in Dresden. A comment from BZ editor-in-chief Jan Schilde.

It was one of the most spectacular art thefts in Germany. Three and a half years after the burglary in the Green Vault in Dresden, the verdicts against those involved in the gang of robbers were pronounced on Tuesday. And the rule of law has once again shown all its leniency.

Those involved in the Berlin Remmo clan were given sentences ranging from 4 years and 4 months to 6 years and 3 months in prison. The perpetrators laugh about it. Why the mildness? Because the defendants returned parts of the treasure and admitted their crime. But the confessions were half-hearted, the returned jewels badly damaged, the priceless treasure destroyed.

German law always assesses the individual guilt of the perpetrator. Every act is different, even if it is about the same facts. And, of course, genuine remorse, victim-offender mediation, and a strong contribution by the defendant to solving a crime can mitigate a sentence.

But deal verdicts like this one run counter to justice, the rule of law. Justice is non-negotiable, no deals are made with serious criminals, especially with organized crime.

Unfortunately, it’s not unusual at all. Every day, German courts agree in favor of the perpetrators. While victims are hit with the full force of the crime, with lasting consequences, perpetrators can rely on the leniency of our judiciary.

Criminal clans already take this into account when committing crimes. For the Remmos, the effort in the Green Vault has paid off.