The Collini Case (2019) Movie Script

Please, come in.
Can I offer you something to drink?
Which newspaper did you say
you work for?
Excuse me?
Is everything ok?
He's dead.
Presidential suite.
Counsellor Caspar Leinen, good afternoon.
I'm Judge Koehler, we spoke on the phone.
This is State Prosecutor Reimers.
State prosecutor...
- Good afternoon.
Leinen, good afternoon.
The defendant is Fabrizio Collini, born in 1934
in Montecatini near Pisa. Italian citizen.
He speaks German reasonably well and has
lived in the Stuttgart area for over 30 years.
Not married.
He stands accused of killing Jean-Baptiste
Meyer in the presidential suite...
...of the Hotel Circle
with three shots to the head.
Would you like to speak with your
client before we begin?
Of course.
Alright then...
And you'll both wait here?
We will.
See you in a minute.
Hello, my name's Leinen.
I'm your attorney.
Should I inform anyone you're here?
Have you given a statement to the police?
You should refrain from making a statement
until I see what evidence they have against you.
Alright, then let's
get started, ok?
The defendant has not given a statement...
...but the physical evidence against him is
compelling: fingerprints on murder weapon...
...blood on his clothing and shoes,
powder burns on his hands... well as testimony from witnesses.
Mr. Collini, do you understand
the charges against you?
Mr. Collini?
The defendant does not wish
to speak at this time.
Mr. Collini, I'm holding you for trial.
Gentlemen, any more business?
I'd like to file a motion for discovery.
- Noted.
And I file to be assigned to the accused
as his public defender.
Does the State object?
I hereby appoint Caspar Leinen as
public defender to Fabrizio Collini.
That's all.
Alright, then...
Thank you, gentlemen.
Mr. Leinen...
How long is it since you passed the bar?
About three months.
Do me a favor and look around the room...
Do you see an audience?
So why are you wearing your robes?
You wore your robes to the arraignment?
Are you losing it, or what?
Hey, look.
I thought he quit.
You know he sailed across the
Atlantic after his wife died?
He's back in the land of the living now.
You had Mattinger, right?
- Criminal law.
I watched a trial where he cross-examined
a witness for 57 days. 57 days!
The judge and the prosecutor
were really pissed!
But he didn't believe her.
And on day 58 she admitted that
her husband hadn't blackmailed her.
She made it up, to get revenge.
Your murder trial sounds pretty hopeless.
No trial is hopeless.
Anyway, you've a big job ahead.
You should buy new robes,
so you'll look good in the papers.
Yeah, let's not get carried away.
He killed Hans Meyer.
It was on the radio this morning.
The owner of MMF.
Meyer Machine Fabrik?
Member of the Order of Merit of the
Federal Republic of Germany.
Are you okay?
I'll be right back.
Caspar, come on!
It's me again, Caspar Leinen...
I have a question about
Jean-Baptiste Meyer.
Hey! This is our lake,
you shitty Turk!
What did you say?
I've no idea where my grandson learned such
a disgusting lack of hospitality, I'm truly sorry.
The victim in the case...
Its not the...
Hans Meyer, good afternoon.
I'm sorry, Caspar.
I'm Phillip.
Radio FFM Berlin.
And now, the news.
In the investigation into the murder of MMF CEO
Hans Meyer, the police are still in the dark.
According to a statement, Johanna
Meyer, the granddaughter of the deceased...
...will take over management
of Meyer Machine Fabrik.
In the Berlin banking scandal
there is still no resolution in sight.
It's still unclear
whether the state of Berlin...
You're still driving that old thing.
I'm so sorry.
- Thanks.
Why would anyone murder my grandfather?
I spoke to him on the phone.
Right before it happened.
He was moaning about how
they were ruining Potsdamer Platz.
A testament to bloodymindedness, cast in
concrete, you know how he used to speak...
I mean, bloodymindedness...
Is that even a word?
If he said it, its a word.
Is your husband not here?
He stayed in London.
And you?
You must be a top attorney by now.
Not really.
I took a case as public defender.
Is that a good move for you?
I'm defending Hans's killer.
I didn't choose the case.
I didn't even know it was him.
His passport says Jean Baptist, not Hans.
You're not taking the case, of course.
I already took the case.
Its not that easy to get out of it.
But its a conflict of interest!
We're not related.
Caspar, you can't defend someone like that.
Let's hope the last guy didn't
order tomato soup.
If he did, forget the next 10 cups.
I know, I had you in...
Criminal law.
I like to know about my opponent, Mr Leinen.
I'm representing the Meyer family
in the civil case against Collini.
Tomato soup...
It's a fascinating case.
I filed a motion yesterday.
I want to give up the case.
I grew up with the family,
Hans Meyer was like a father to me.
I didn't know that.
Excellent wording.
I take it this is your first case
that made it to trial?
You know, your next case might remind you
of a tragic experience from your childhood.
Or maybe you don't like your client's nose...
...or you think the drugs he sold
make him the worst of the worst.
Do you think personal opinions
belong in a courtroom?
You want to be a defense attorney...
Then act like one.
This is the public defender, Mr. Leinen.
I'm representing the defendant, Collini.
The young man is very committed.
Well, then...
The victim is male, 84 years old,
5 foot 11 inches, 205 pounds.
The nose is shattered,
presumably from blunt force...
From the left, to the head...
These injuries were post-mortem.
Blood and fluid leakage,
signs of abrasion in both ears.
3 projectiles, heavily deformed.
Entry wounds clearly visible.
I can't do it.
Once more, where does
expectandum come from?
You try to look at it as an object,
not as a person.
But you don't always succeed.
Expecta re...
To expect!
Expecto, expectas...
Expectat, expectamus, expectatis, expectant.
Liver, 2 pounds, 13 ounces.
Right lung, 1 pound, 12 ounces.
Left, 1 pound, 6 ounces.
Professor, we're leaving.
Thank you.
Heart, 1 pound, 1 ounce...
That's it.
The first shot, front, center...
He was probably kneeling.
The other 2 through
the left side of his face...
...he was already lying on the ground.
No defensive wounds.
The victim must have been caught unawares.
Since the defendant refuses to make a
statement, we must assume it was intentional.
Certainly premeditated.
Mr. Leinen, this all leads to a charge
of first-degree murder.
Good night.
You'll probably be charged with murder.
You could get life.
If a crime has some emotional motivation,
it can make a big difference in court.
Imagine you have a shop, and a boy
steals an apple, then you're angry.
But if the kid tells you he hasn't eaten
in two days, you're not so mad, you know?
Why did you do it?
Investigators have so far been unable
to establish a direct connection...
...between Fabrizio Collini and his victim...
The funeral of the Federal Cross of Merit holder
Hans Meyer will be held today...
How long has it been?
Must be 10 years.
Since the accident, right?
And now old Mr. Meyer.
It's like a curse.
Give me your jacket, I'll iron it for you.
It's not a museum, off you go!
There you go, good as new!
Johanna, you have to eat something.
You didn't tell her.
If you had, she would have thrown
that food in your face.
How can you do it?
After everything Grandpa did for you.
I'm an attorney.
If I was a doctor,
I'd have to save a serial killer.
Do you think it might have
something to do with the MMF?
Who can I ask?
You want me to help you now?
Maybe there's a connection to organized crime.
Did Hans ever talk about blackmail attempts?
He would never have taken his firm
into grey areas. And you know that.
Not even insider trading?
Some kind of dodgy dealing?
I'd like to thank you all very much
for coming and for your sympathy.
Most of you knew Hans Meyer
as an entrepreneur and a friend...
...but I would like to say a few words
about my grandfather.
As many of you know,
our family wasn't very big...
And when my parents and my brother
were taken from us far too young...
...he was the only person I had.
I'll miss my grandfather very much.
His openness, his patience, his almost
childlike enthusiasm for old cars...
...and the words he would create,
which he always insisted...
...were to be found in the dictionary.
And there was another side to him
that not everyone knew...
He could love without expecting
anything in return.
And anyone he took to his heart...
...was overwhelmed with
love and generosity.
Guess who!
With those rough hands, you could
only be Franz the gardener.
When did you get back?
Stop it!
Get off me!
And who's that?
That's Caspar.
Aha! So you're the hungry caterpillar
who's moved in and is eating all our food?
And you're the older sister
who's studying art history... the "oh my god"
academy in England.
Oh, no, no, no!
Are you crazy?
What are you doing here, Bernhard?
Hello, Caspar.
I thought I should at
least come to the funeral...
I wrote you a letter after
I heard he was dead.
I wish I had met him.
So you could throw tomatoes at him
and call him a capitalist pig?
To thank him for everything he did for my son.
I talked to your mother a couple of weeks ago.
She's doing fine in Antalya,
she's enjoying her retirement...
I know.
I've only got a few more years myself.
Although, I enjoy
working in the bookstore.
I'd like to keep working, you know?
What are you up to, Bernhard?
This father-son thing?
We tried all that before, it didn't
work, you have to see that?
We don't even know each other.
Take care, boy.
I often wonder what would have happened
if Philipp hadn't died.
Maybe it would have only lasted
that one summer anyway.
I'd have gone back to London,
you were going to start university...
Maybe I'd have applied to
universities in London.
Maybe we'll do better this time?
Where were you?
I couldn't find a parking space.
You caught the trial of the century and
you're looking for a parking space.
I'm not saying you should take the bus,
but couldn't you have called a cab?
Unfortunately, we can't make
a statement at this time.
Maybe later... is the prosecution's contention that
Fabrizio Collini committed this crime...
...brutally, in cold blood,
with full premeditation.
At the same time, we know nothing
about the defendant's motive...
We don't know enough to say whether
the defendant planned and committed...
Please stand!
...the crime alone.
Today, however, only
Fabrizio Collini is standing trial...
...and I am convinced that you will agree
with the State...
...when we characterize this crime as murder...
...and demand the maximum penalty.
Counsel for the defense, would your
client like to make a statement?
Does your client want to speak?
My client doesn't...
Would you please speak into
the microphone in front of you?
My client doesn't wish to make a statement.
In addition to the defendant's DNA, we only
found minor traces of one other person...
...on the victim's clothing.
The second DNA is from his
long-time housekeeper.
The defendant's shoes had
remnants of brain matter...
...and even particles of bone.
What did the forensic reports say about those?
They belonged to Hans Meyer as well.
I asked if he was alright.
He was very quiet.
He had some blood splattered
on his forehead here...
Then he said, "He's dead."
Was Mr. Collini particularly agitated
or emotional?
He was kind of vacant...
I don't know if I
should say this here, but...
I wouldn't have been surprised
if he had ordered an espresso.
The left eye was destroyed
and hanging out of its socket...
Cheekbone and nose were destroyed.
In layman's terms...
Is it easy to break
someone's cheekbone?
The skull is very solid.
I assume that...
I assume that the perpetrator kicked
Hans Meyer with full force several times... the face.
Mattinger is very good at his job.
If it goes on like this,
you'll die in prison.
Now you listen to me, Mr. Collini.
Do you know how much
Hans Meyer meant to me?
The man you shot in the head three times...
...and then stamped on his head
until your shoe broke.
He was the only one who had time for me
because my mother had to work all the time...
...and my father left when I was 2.
You know what?
I don't care anymore...
From now on, it's all by the book.
See you in court.
Is he still alive?
Your father, is he still alive?
He lives in Frankfurt.
Do you see each other often?
You should see him more.
He won't be there forever.
Why did you kill him?
I don't want to cause you any trouble, Counsellor.
Can I have that pizza there?
There's a 10 percent discount for take-away
Delivery, please.
Brehmstralie 3, the name is Leinen.
I can take it.
It's on my way anyway.
So, you can take me with you.
That's not possible.
You don't need to worry.
As the delivery driver, you invoice
the pizzeria for your time, right?
That makes you an autonomous subcontractor
so you're legally excluded from liability.
Do you pull this trick often?
My car broke down.
Come on.
What do you do when you're
not delivering Pizzas?
I'm studying.
Business administration and Italian.
Sure, business administration...
I should've guessed.
You don't look much like a lawyer either.
Well, a Turkish lawyer?
I'm glad you could make it.
I was never interested in politics
or the opinion of others...
...unlike many of my colleagues.
The law was always my top priority.
I always believed in the rule of law.
And now, after 40 years?
Do you still believe in it?
I run a law firm with 30 employees,
so it's only rarely about the law...'s much more about settlements,
deals and billing as many hours as possible.
It paid for my villa on Wannsee.
The police found a letter from Collini to Meyer
in which he claimed he was a journalist.
That's why Meyer let him into the suite
in the first place.
I know.
I can forget manslaughter...
I'd like to make you an offer.
Get Collini to confess.
Nobody wants a long trial.
Neither the public prosecutor,
nor the company...
And I guess Johanna Meyer will also
be glad when it's all over.
Can you take the tiller?
I've known Reimers for a long time.
I think if Collini confesses...
...I can persuade him to reduce the charges.
Maybe ignore the premeditation.
Which would mean manslaughter.
Pay attention to the wind!
If you confess in court,
you could get as little as seven years.
With good behavior,
you're out after 3 or 4 years.
I don't care.
Do you have any idea how much pain
your silence is causing the relatives?
How's our confession coming along, Counsellor?
Give me a few more days.
I have complete faith in you.
You'll remember your promise?
Of course, the offer still stands.
I don't want to be alone.
Come in.
Mattinger said Collini had confessed?
It's practically over.
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen...
...we're reporting from the
Berlin Regional Court.
Even after the dramatic confession,
details of the crime remain unclear.
Mr. Mattinger, the case is over
for you, right?
As you know, nothing's certain,
in court and on the high seas.
The ballistics tests were difficult.
However, the projectiles
matched the murder weapon.
Walther P38.
This type of weapon is not typical for a
perpetrator connected with organized crime...
the weapon is quite rare
and has very heavy recoil.
The defendant refused to make a statement... we know nothing about
how he found the weapon...
...but we assume that he acquired it
on the black market.
The fingerprints on the grip
clearly match the defendant...
Excuse me.
Do you have a second?
I have a question about the murder weapon.
You said it was rare.
Yes, indeed.
If I wanted to buy a gun,
any gun on the black market...
...would I be likely to end up
with a Walther P38?
Almost impossible. I'd say you'd
have to look for it specifically.
What's your point?
Thank you for your time.
Today, I don't want to be alone.
Okay. Come over.
I'm expecting you.
What are we doing here?
Wait and see.
Is it real?
I think so.
Can I touch it?
You must never enter the library,
and I'm serious!
Never without me!
Good morning.
You slept well?
- Excellent, why shouldn't I?
There's no reason not to.
I need a moment with my client, please.
The trial is about to begin.
- It'll be quick.
What's his problem now?
- The young man's very jumpy.
I want you to take a look at this.
Had you ever seen a weapon
like this before the crime, Mr. Collini?
Mr. Collini, please!
Why do you torture yourself?
Why don't you just tell me what happened?
Because it doesn't make a difference.
Counsellor, it's time!
It does make a difference!
- That's enough!
Mr. Collini, I can help you.
Please be seated.
Since the defendant...
Your honor!
I would like to file for continuance
for one week.
Counsellor, this is ridiculous!
Dr. Reimers, Professor Mattinger,
Mr. Leinen...
Please join me in my chambers.
The trial is over for today.
Wasted time.
Mr. Leinen, are you out of your mind?
I need to be sure about one thing.
You will apologize to the judge immediately
and withdraw your motion.
Right, let's see what our young colleague
has on his mind.
Mr. Leinen, are you planning to break
all the rules in your first trial?
Did you teach him that?
I don't think I can teach Mr. Leinen anything!
Out with it, Counsellor.
What's the purpose of this farce?
There's new evidence regarding my client's
motive and I need to investigate it.
What new evidence?
You have four days.
Thank you.
- Hey!
Did your car break down again
or have you come to ask me out?
Do you know a place called Montecatini?
It's near Pisa.
I need an interpreter.
I'll pay 150 Deutschmarks a day.
Can I deliver these first?
Federal Archive Ludwigsburg.
- It's Caspar Leinen again...
I called this morning about
Jean-Baptiste Meyer.
You're in luck.
We've got quite a few hits here.
Could you send me a copy
of the documents?
We're talking about more than 300 pages.
Per folder.
Okay, how many folders are there?
You'll have to come by, Counsellor.
Yes, thank you.
I'll get back to you.
Drive to Ludwigsburg,
read 1,500 pages and Italy?
How do you want to do all that in four days?
We'll never get it done on our own.
Leinen Books.
I made the bed..
The toilet's around the corner.
Where will you sleep?
I've got a good sleeping bag.
Good night.
I'm really glad you're staying over.
No, thank you.
There were no hotel rooms
because of the trade fair.
So, you have to go to Ludwigsburg, and read
over 1,000 pages and you only have three days.
I'm a fast reader, I'll manage.
Thank you.
A little wild for you, isn't she?
We're colleagues.
That's all.
And you?
Your mother...
The fact that it didn't
work out for us...
I've come to terms with that.
But you and me...
Didn't you say you don't speak Italian?
I had Latin in school.
Keep going like that and
you won't need me anymore.
Well, he only knew an Antonella Collini,
but she died two months ago.
An old woman told me that the guy
who lives here knew Collini.
I speak German.
I represent Fabrizio Collini.
We were told you know him.
What is it?
He's in trouble.
Does the name Hans Meyer
ring a bell?
Good morning.
- Good morning.
Is Johanna in?
She's in a meeting in the lounge.
You look terrible!
I must ask you not to talk to anyone about this.
There are some unpleasant details
about what happened...
...which I would like to spare you.
And for the good of the company,
not a word to Mr. Leinen.
You always liked that one, right?
Hans, I should apologize...
It's a classic.
The shape...
The straight lines...
If you finish school with the grades
you need, it's yours.
I can't accept that.
No discussion, Caspar.
I never liked driving it anyway.
It turns like a ship sailing in molasses.
I was in Montecatini.
I know what happened.
On 19 June, 1944.
It was outside on the ground.
What do you want?
The devil visits a lawyer...
"What can I do for you?"
''I'm the devil.''
"Well, I can see that.
So what can I do for you?"
"Listen", says the devil.
"You will be the greatest lawyer of all time,
you will win every single case...
In return you'll give me your soul,
the souls of your children, your parents...
...and the souls of your five best friends."
The lawyer looks at the ceiling, thinks for
a moment, leans forward again and says:
"Fine, but what's the catch?"
Let it be, young man.
Your new evidence,
the trump card up your sleeve...
Leave it where it is.
The truth, or what you think is the truth,
is of no use to anyone.
It'll hurt Johanna Meyer very badly.
Leave Johanna out of this.
I'm offering you our deal one last time.
Take it. Let Collini enjoy a few
more beautiful summers in Italy.
Meyer Factories are part owners
of a private bank in Dusseldorf.
It's facing an insider trading trial
and they'd be happy...
...if you represented one of the defendants.
Your daily rate is 2,500 Deutschmarks plus
expenses. The trial will last at least 100 days.
You're scared.
You're scared that I won't play the role
you picked out for me.
See you in court.
Oh, and pay attention to
details like this...
It looks shabby and harms
our entire profession.
Sorry I'm late.
No problem.
Let's go, I'm hungry.
I need to tell you something.
I know.
They told me about Hans yesterday.
It was so long ago.
It doesn't help anyone to bring that all up now.
It might help Collini.
It's not important.
We are all that matters now.
I'm going to step down from the company.
I'd like to take photos again...
Hanna! I'm going to present the new
evidence at court tomorrow.
No, you're not.
I saw you with Mattinger.
Did he brief you?
Or did you send him here to buy me?
- Bullshit!
Was it his idea to start things
up with me again after all this time?
Fuck you, Caspar!
And what did you do?
Do you think I didn't notice
you poking around our place?
I will defend my client as best I can.
Don't do it!
I'm an attorney.
And that's thanks to one man:
my grandfather, and you know it.
And now you want to destroy his reputation?
Without him you'd be working in a kebab shop!
Calling Katrin Schwan to the stand.
Please, take a seat.
Please state your name, age, occupation
and residence for the record.
Katrin Schwan, historian,
45, I live in Ludwigsburg.
Go ahead.
Ms. Schwan, thank you for coming.
You've been at the Federal Archive
for a number of years, is that right?
I'm the head of the research unit
Can you tell us if Jean-Baptiste Meyer, born
on March 12, 1916, served in World War II?
No! Or rather yes, I can.
He didn't.
Not under that name.
There were about 16,000 Wehrmacht
personnel with the surname Meyer...
...with all of the different spellings.
1,034 of them were called Hans,
408 of these spelled Meyer with -e-y...
...and exactly 2 of them shared the same
birthday as the victim, Jean-Baptiste Meyer.
One of them died in his mid 40's.
A carpenter from Lychen in the Uckermark.
He died of a gunshot to the stomach
in Stalingrad.
And the other one?
The other Hans Meyer, the same height and
date of birth as Jean-Baptiste Meyer...
...was stationed in Italy from 1943 to 45.
And what was his role?
He was an officer of the Waffen SS.
Order, please!
Did you know that?
Didn't you?
- No.
Order, please.
Thank you.
I have no further questions.
Thank you, Ms. Schwan.
Would the prosecution care to cross examine?
Thank you.
Your honor! The defense would like to
call Mr. Claudio Lucchesi to the stand.
One moment, please.
That name is not on the witness list.
Counsel for the defense, I must urge you
to stick to the usual procedures.
The witness has travelled up from the
defendant's home village near Pisa...
I only just found out he had arrived.
Alright, but just this once, Mr. Leinen.
So, calling the witness...
- Claudio Lucchesi.
...Claudio Lucchesi to the stand.
Mr. Claudio Lucchesi, please.
Do we need an interpreter?
The witness speaks German.
For the record: What's your name, sir?
When were you born? Place of residence?
Claudio Lucchesi.
Born June 9 1934 in Pisa.
I live in Montecatini.
What do you do for a living?
I'm a translator for German and French.
Mr. Lucchesi, may I first ask if
you came here today voluntarily?
Of course.
But initially you didn't want to.
Why not?
You can't turn back time.
Your father's name was Alberto Lucchesi.
Could you please tell us what happened to him?
He was sentenced to death and executed
after the war. In 1945.
Objection! I really don't see what this
has to do with this trial.
Please continue.
He was convicted and executed immediately.
In Pisa.
What was your father accused of?
Collaboration with the Germans.
He was also an interpreter.
You needn't be afraid of me.
I just like to get to know all of my employees.
What was the officer's name?
Hans Meyer.
Quiet, please.
Would the prosecution
like to make a statement?
The counsel for the defense is clearly trying
to blacken the name of Jean-Baptiste Meyer...
...and distract from the fact that Mr. Meyer
is the victim in this trial.
Let's not forget that, please.
Mr. Lucchesi, you said that your father
Alberto was sentenced to death...
...for collaboration with the Germans,
even though he was only an interpreter.
It's hard to understand.
On a late summer's day in 1944,
at around 10 in the evening...
...a bomb exploded in
the Cafe Trento in Pisa.
It killed two German soldiers.
A Partisan assassination.
Everyone knew what the
Germans response would be.
The people are protecting these partisans.
It's obvious.
And so, as of today,
we will proceed as follows:
For every German killed,
10 partisans will die.
Or supporters, hostages...
...and anyone who even looks like he's
thinking of protecting these bandits.
Ten for one.
It's the only way to break the resistance.
Ten for one!
Lucchesi, would you like to play God?
Mr. Sturmbannfhrer, please no!
Then you do it.
What about... here!
Yes, Sir!
Ten for one.
20 civilians shot dead... retaliation for the 2 German soldiers.
Bring them here.
Let's go!
Open up!
Open up!
Buona sera.
Hello there...
We don't like doing this.
But we hope...
...that in future these partisans...
...will not find shelter and help.
No children!
You, too!
You idiot!
Don't worry, my boy.
What's your name?
Fabrizio Collini.
Mr. Collini?
Would you be willing to testify?
The defense calls Fabrizio Collini.
Mr. Collini?
Take the stand, please.
Thank you, Mr Lucchesi.
What happened then, Mr. Collini?
Then he asked me about my father.
Where's your father?
The father.
But he says his father had nothing to do with it!
He's not a partisan!
Get over there.
In a row.
The court will recess for half an hour.
Thank you.
Thank you, goodbye.
Come on.
See you later.
See you later.
I'll be with you in a second.
You know exactly what kind
of person my grandfather was.
He was following orders.
The counsel for the civil claim
has asked to make a statement.
Go ahead, Professor Mattinger.
The council for the defense has
vividly demonstrated that in 1944...
...near Pisa, a 10-fold retaliation was inflicted
on civilians, in response to a Partisan attack.
By the way, this form of retaliation
was not unusual...
...and was not only used by
German forces in World War II.
We cannot imagine the suffering
of the victims and their families.
As tragic as it is...
...this kind of hostage shooting
was not an isolated incident.
In certain circumstances, these punitive
measures were in accordance...
...with international law...
...namely when no women and children
were affected by the retaliatory action.
No women, no children.
Is that correct, Mr Leinen?
In rare cases, yes.
Things happen in war...
...that we cannot and do not
want to imagine here.
...whether or not Jean-Baptiste Meyer
committed a war crime... a question for a military tribunal.
Why didn't you file
a complaint against him...
...instead of taking the law
into your own hands?
Wouldn't that have been the way to proceed?
I think it would.
Isn't it true that you and your sister filed
a criminal complaint against Meyer in 1968?
Recess, please.
I have to talk to my...
What happened with the complaint?
In the summer of 1969...
...the public prosecutor's office suspended
the investigation of Jean-Baptiste Meyer.
In this case, the truth is quite simple.
Jean-Baptiste Meyer was not guilty,
there was no war crime.
Those were terrible times.
You, Mr. Collini,
murdered an innocent man.
Today's session is over.
I'm sorry you had to hear all that again.
Why didn't you tell me?
That's the game, Leinen.
Don't take it personally.
When the complaint was rejected... sister made me swear that
I'd never try anything again.
Never talk to anyone about it again.
"For as long as I'm alive'', she said.
She lived with the pain
for more than thirty years.
Until two months ago.
I hope you understand me...
I understand...
Well, I think.
I know this isn't easy for you, Counsellor.
I wanted to apologize.
I'm the one who should apologize.
If you had a better lawyer, you'd have
been a free man in three years.
I'm not interested in that.
I don't have a family anymore, no kids.
All I want is justice.
How could they dismiss the complaint
against Meyer?
What law was on his side?
What law, Counsellor?
This is the original verdict.
BONN, MAY 24 1968
Look at this!
Good morning, Counsellor!
I'm sorry, your honor.
I'm so glad you were able to take time away
from uncovering surprise witnesses.
We were afraid you wouldn't make it to court!
I do have a surprise witness, your honor.
But the person I would like to call is
already here in the court room.
And who would that be?
Professor Richard Mattinger.
But I don't want to call him as a witness,
but as an expert on legal history.
Again, this is not the usual procedure.
You don't have to do this,
Professor Mattinger.
I know.
But if it helps us to find the truth...
Do you want me to sit in the witness chair?
That's not necessary.
Maybe it's not bad to change my perspective.
See the room from the other side!
Shall we, Counsellor?
Professor Mattinger, when did you
pass the bar? 1968?
Were you a good lawyer from the beginning?
Please, Counsellor...
One could say that you've always been on
the side of law, order and justice, right?
Well, I was once ticketed for speeding on
Hohenzollerndamm. I was 8 mph over the limit.
My only offence in that direction, if you will.
I was on my way to a friend's wedding
and a little late. I was the best man.
Let's talk about Doctor Eduard Dreher.
Was that a question?
- Not yet.
Please, gentlemen.
Professor Mattinger, the complaint against
Jean-Baptiste Meyer was not suspended...
...because the execution of the hostages
was legal, isn't that right?
The state prosecutor did not make
a judgment on that.
Because there was a different reason.
Fabrizio Collini waited until his mother died...
Then, together with his sister Antonella, he filed
a complaint against Jean-Baptiste Meyer... early 1969.
The two did everything that the rule of law
expected of them and then got this answer:
"The matter will not be investigated."
And this was due to a law that came
into force at the end of 1968.
Almost 25 years after the massacre...
...but just 4 months before the siblings
filed charges against Meyer.
Introductory Law to the Law on
Administrative Offences."
Quite a mouthful, isn't it.
So your first serious question... about how easily the name of an
obscure law trips off the tongue?
Doctor Eduard Dreher
was the author of the law.
During the Nazi regime he was the Senior Public
Prosecutor at the special court in Innsbruck.
He argued for the death penalty if someone,
for example, stole food.
He was quite drastic, yes.
In 1951, Dreher was appointed to the
Federal Ministry of Justice?
And another question, yes!
The same Dr. Eduard Dreher became head
of the criminal justice department here?
Whatever you're trying to suggest...
...he wasn't the only Nazi who made
a career under Adenauer.
When Collini's claim was rejected in 1969...
...the legal basis for that decision
was what, five lines from that law?
Would you mind telling us
what exactly it means?
In simple words?
To put it very simply, it meant that
the crime of accessory to murder... certain cases, was to be punished
as manslaughter, not murder.
Which meant?
That in certain cases, accessory to murder was
to be punished as manslaughter, not murder.
What did this mean in practice?
I told you!
I want everyone in the room to understand it.
It meant that such crimes committed during the
war would fall under the statute of limitations...
...and the perpetrators could
no longer be prosecuted.
Because the statute of limitations
for manslaughter is 20 years.
In contrast to murder.
It meant that an officer like Hans Meyer
who indiscriminately executed civilians...
...his crime was classified as manslaughter.
And he would get away with it...
...because the statute of limitations
for manslaughter had already passed.
How many got away because of this law?
How many of the senior killers
who sat behind the desks?
And ordered the extermination
of almost all the Jews in Europe?
They had nothing to worry
about anymore, right?
It doesn't change a thing,
Collini killed an innocent man.
Yes, let's talk about guilt.
Your honor, I've no idea what this...
Mr Mattinger, did you serve as an intern in the
Ministry of Justice in Bonn in the mid-sixties?
Is it true that you took part in meetings
where this law was discussed?
The minutes of the meeting.
Can you remember if it was unpleasant
to work on this law...
Yes, some sessions were quite long.
To work on a law that meant that crimes
like these were suddenly beyond prosecution?
It was a different time back then.
Perhaps you see it differently today?
Do you think Meyer was guilty?
Was it just that Meyer could never
be brought before a court for his crimes?
It was the law.
That's what we discuss here.
Nothing else, young man.
You're standing here, protected by
the grace of your late birth...
...and want to nail me to a law
that was drafted at the same time...
...I happened to be employed
by the same authority?
Have you got the slightest idea?
Can you even begin to imagine
how this country worked back then?
In the end, our job was to respect the law.
I've always done that.
The law was a scandal.
And if you didn't have the courage to
stand up and say it then, at least do it now.
This law...
Was it just?
No-one is disputing that Collini
took the law into his own hands.
But was it just that no charges
were brought against Meyer?
Don't we have to judge
Collini's deed differently?
Stand by!
You must learn to be brave.
You must learn to be brave, Hans Meyer.
Was it just, Mr. Mattinger?
Is this the rule of law we believe in?
Of course not.
According to our current understanding
of international law...
...Jean-Baptiste Meyer should have
been charged and convicted.
For a war crime, is that correct?
That's right, yes.
I've no further questions, your honor.
The court is in recess for today.
Tomorrow we'll hear closing arguments,
and then we'll pass sentence.
It's over.
The dead don't want revenge.
Thank you, Counsellor.
Am I all that, too?
You are who you are.
We're reporting live from outside the court,
and today is the long-awaited day.
We're expecting to hear the verdict in
the Collini case that has gripped the nation.
After yesterday's explosive revelations,
the question on everyone's lips is:
How will the judges rule?
It's a true legal dilemma.
Stay tuned for more breaking news.
The defendant, Fabrizio Maria Collini,
took his own life in his cell last night.
The coroner pronounced him dead at 2:40 a.m.
I therefore have the following
decision to announce:
The proceedings against the accused
are closed.
The costs will be borne by the state.
Ladies and gentlemen,
this hearing is closed.
Your mail...
Your father called,
you should call him back.
And your flight is leaving soon.
Listen, what did we say about
appropriate clothing at work?
Hundreds of thousands of civilians were
indiscriminately murdered by the SS...
...and the German army in the Second
World War during "retaliatory" measures.
In 1968 the so-called "Dreher Law"
was passed by the German Bundestag.
This law allowed countless war criminals
to escape justice.