29 January 2004
BERLIN – Three former top East German military officers pleaded innocent as proceedings opened before a court in Berlin Thursday in connection with the deaths of four people trying to breach the Berlin Wall.
On trial for manslaughter is a one-time East German border guard colonel. Two former subordinate officers face charges of being accessories to manslaughter.
The three stand accused of having ordered the shooting deaths of four East Germans between 1963 and 1973.
Insisting he was innocent as charged, the former commander told the court, “All the dead and all the wounded are tragic victims of the Cold War”.
He lashed out at what he called “malicious and discriminatory accusations” that the communist East German regime tacitly approved a shoot-to-kill order along the border.
Subject: German news