The German judicial system is set up in such a manner that ‘lay judges’ (judges without robes, of Schöffen in German) can be filled by members from the public. These can help ruling and sentencing cases which carry a penalty of maximum 4 years imprisonment. Any German citizen of good standing between the ages of 25 to 69 can apply to be one of those. There are some 60,000 ‘judges without robes’ in Germany. If elected, they serve a five-year term.
To the horror of the left-wing socialist party, the anti-immigration parties of AfD and Pegida have now started launching appeals to their members to apply for these positions, explaining that they feel Germany’s judicial system is not representative of the public’s view anymore.
The first one of those appeals that appeared in the press was a few weeks ago when ‘Schöffen’ were sought in Köln.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="de" dir="ltr">SCHÖFFEN IN KÖLN GESUCHT! ⚖️<br>Liebe Leute, werdet Schöffen und sorgt für <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Gerechtigkeit?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Gerechtigkeit</a> in Strafprozessen! <br>Nähere Infos s.u.. 👩⚖️👨⚖️<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/K%C3%B6ln?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Köln</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Kriminalit%C3%A4t?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Kriminalität</a><a href="https://t.co/PuRIdFuDhV">https://t.co/PuRIdFuDhV</a> <a href="https://t.co/KxfBjajUeP">https://t.co/KxfBjajUeP</a></p>— AfD Köln (@AfDKoeln) <a href="https://twitter.com/AfDKoeln/status/964918517639335937?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">February 17, 2018</a></blockquote>
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Immediately, the chairwoman of the North Rhine-Westphalia state branch of the German Association for Lay Judges (DVS) Ms. Ursula Sens expressed her concern that the German lower courts would be filled with the far-right.
To answer, Pegida founder Mr. Lutz Bachmann stated that: Ms “Sens wants to sort out lay-judge applicants based on beliefs. Of course, all those who have left-wing terrorist, leftist autonomous, or left-wing extremist beliefs are likely welcome to her. But for heaven's sake, no conservatives, right?"
Pegida ("Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West") after this doubled down on it’s call to followers "to get involved" for the volunteer judge posts, just as AfD did before them.
Another anti-immigrant party, the NPD, made it even clearer to its followers why this was necessary when deputy leader Mr. Ronny Zasowk said people should apply to combat ‘rising migrant violence’.