Thousands of war crime-themed cases involving asylum-seekers were referred to the German authorities in recent years, but only a small portion of them was eventually picked up for investigation, a new report has found.
From 2014 to early 2019, the German migration and refugee services referred around 5,000 cases of “crimes under international law” to the police and the attorney general but only 129 cases ended up being investigated, Bild reported on Thursday.
This included the time between 2015 and 2016 when the nation saw a spike in the influx of migrants and asylum-seekers from the Middle East, Afghanistan and Sub-Saharan Africa. Some 3,800 referrals were filed during that period. Only 28 of those prompted an investigation.
The data was revealed following an official request lodged by the opposition Free Democratic Party (FDP), according to the paper. The report in the media didn’t provide the breakdown of the cases and didn’t specify the countries of origin of the persons involved. The spokesperson for the Interior Ministry told the paper that the “large number of referrals prevented immediate investigation of each case.”
Lawmaker Linda Teuteberg (FDP), who sits on the parliamentary interior affairs committee, said that war criminals should not be granted protection in Germany.
“I have doubts as to whether the federal government has always pursued this with the necessary seriousness in the past few years,” Teuteberg said.
The effects of migration flows on national security remain a point of contention in Germany as foreign nationals have committed a number of high-profile terror attacks in recent years. In 2016, Anis Amri, a failed asylum seeker from Tunisia, drove a truck through a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people. Media reports said that, nine months before the tragedy, the state police in North Rhine-Westphalia had notified the state’s interior ministry that Amri was planning a suicide attack. However, the authorities left the notice unanswered and ruled that the man couldn’t be deported.