German court won't send Love Parade deaths case to trial

Twenty-one people died on July 24, 2010 in a crush in a packed tunnel

BERLIN — A German court has decided that 10 people indicted over a deadly mass panic at the Love Parade techno music festival in 2010 will not stand trial, saying Tuesday it concluded that there wasn’t a sufficiently strong case to answer.

The decision by the state court in Duisburg came more than two years after prosecutors indicted four employees of the event’s organizers and six city workers on charges including involuntary manslaughter and bodily harm.

Twenty-one people died on July 24, 2010 in a crush in a packed tunnel that was the sole access point to the event in Duisburg, in western Germany. The victims included people from Spain, Australia, Italy, Bosnia, China and the Netherlands. More than 500 people were injured.

The 10 people charged were accused of serious planning failures and failing to monitor security procedures properly.

The court, however, said that “an exhaustive examination” of the prosecution’s case and evidence “has shown that there is no sufficient case to answer.” It objected to an expert opinion submitted by the prosecution, saying that it was seriously flawed and there was no other convincing evidence.

Prosecutors and victims’ relatives who joined the case as co-plaintiffs have a week to appeal the decision.

Lawyer Julius Reiter, who represents some 100 people including the relatives of four people who died, called it a “judicial scandal.” He told news agency dpa that the injured and the victims’ relatives don’t understand the court’s decision — “they have been fobbed off for years with the statement that thoroughness comes before speed.”

Separately, the Duisburg court is still considering civil cases from people seeking compensation. On Tuesday, it set hearings next month for claims from two women demanding compensation for injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.