Mission successful: Ex-Constitutional Court of Germany Judge Renate Jaeger - Judge at the European Court of Human Rights - „The enemy in my bed"?

Mission successful: Ex-Constitutional Court of Germany Judge Renate Jaeger - Judge at the European Court of Human Rights - „The enemy in my bed"?

Mission successful: Ex-Constitutional Court of Germany Judge Renate Jaeger - Judge at the European Court of Human Rights - „The enemy in my bed"?

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Information concerning the case of Renate Jaeger, former German Constitutional Court Judge and now Judge at the European Court of Human Rights

Mission successful: Ex-Constitutional Court of Germany Judge Renate Jaeger - Judge at the European Court of Human Rights - „The enemy in my bed"?

Scarcely any more human rights violations in Germany? Has this international human rights court become a German national organ? What has Renate Jaeger got to do with small, cuddly polar bears?

Düsseldorf 28.05.2008 Since 2004, the case of the Haase family has been known as one of the most inhumane violations of human rights in the recent history of the Federal Republic of Germany. It stands out among the more than 60 human rights violations for which this country has been punished by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). It is now internationally known that the Jugendamt, as a municipal agency of the city of Muenster, made itself culpable shortly before Christmas in 2001, by removing the seven Haase children from their parents, after a secret evaluation was carried out and without even granting the parents a right to a hearing. One of these children was a three-day old infant and for many years, the parents were forbidden to have any contact with any of their children. The financial damages which were imposed as part of the judgement of severe violation of human rights were swiftly transferred to the parents' account by the German state. However, their children were not returned to them. The parents filed suit at one level of the German courts after another until their case once again came before the ECtHR.

Two children returned to the family! Lisa dead!

Since August and September 2005 two of the younger daughters have been living with their parents once again. Little A. had been in a children's home run by the Mellinische Stiftung in Werl and little S. had been kept in the Josef Children's Home in Gelsenkirchen. The children were kept mostly separate from each other, in the truest sense of the word. There is no known pedagogical reason for this separation. The Jugendamt returned the two children under strict conditions. The other five children were not able to return home. One daughter, who had, on two occasions, attempted suicide by jumping out of a window whilst staying in the Mellinische Stiftung, Werl under the care of the Jugendamt, died out of reach of her mother. She had severe scrapes on her left arm. The child who was taken whilst still a newborn is growing up in the care of foster parents, whom he thinks are his real parents. Three further children have been totally alienated from their siblings and parents

the remaing Haase chidren

No human rights violations?

Nevertheless, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has,in its second Beschluss 34499/04 vom 12.02.2008, failed to detect any more human rights violations in the case of the Haase family

Thus, according to the first decision in Strassburt on 08.04.2004, it may have been a human rights violation to remove all seven children from this intact family by means intervention by a German municipal agency and according to the ruling of Judge Norbert Weitz of the Family Court of Muenster and the Youth Welfare Board of the city of Muenster. However, according to the second decision, the fact that the return of all the children to their parents, as decreed by this same court four years previously, had only been partially implemented, is just as much in line with human rights as the fact that the above-mentioned Judge Norbert Weiss and the Youth Welfare Board of the city of Muenster once again have the power of decision in this regard.

Along with other ambiguous issues, it is unclear it is in accordance with the law for judges such as Norbert Weitz to be involved with a Youth Welfare Board, when they are only supposed to be dispensing justice in their courts.

Psychological evaluators Ralf Grigoleit, Rheine and Prof. Dr. Marie-Luise Kluck, Mülheim:

Even the real -names of the psychological evaluators Ralf Grigoleit, currently practising in Rheine and Prof. Dr. Marie-Luise Kluck, Mülheim were kept under wraps in this second judgement of the ECtHR. This is the kind of action which is normally practised by totalitarian states and it enables those who did the dirty work to remain undiscovered. The initial involvement of the Jugendamt in Muenster can also be seen in the same light, although the later involvement of the Jugendamt in Steinfurt did have some elements of fair treatment.

Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Klenner reports:

According to a list of defects by Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Klenner, one of the most reputable psychological experts in Germany and mentor of the Haase family since mid-2002, the concealment of both these names was more than just the protection of privacy. He commented on the situation as follows:

„Both these experts, Grigoleit und Kluck, were, at best, compliant in assisting with the declared intention of the the Jugendamt of Muenster, to remove the children of the Haase family from their parents.

The evaluations themselves come to erroneous conclusions, because the experts merely picked out those arguments which confirmed the expectations that were implied in the judge's questions. No alternative solutions were offered, sparing the court the burden of balancing the various interests of the parties concerned and enabling it to make its decision without forming its own opinion. It is also quite interesting that there is no request for evidence from the Family Court for the evaluation which was submitted by Grigoleit on 17.12.2001. This is because the request for an evaluation was made by the Municipal Social Welfare department of Muenster, in the form of a court request for evidence. This request was taken on by Judge Weitz, as if he had issued it himself."

Renate Jaeger - Awarded honorary doctorate in Muenster!

It remains a puzzle, as to how such errors were not noticed by the former German Constitutional Court Judge, Renate Jaeger, who has a significant degree of responsibility for this judgement. Coming from Muenster, like the Haase family, where she was awarded an honorary doctorate, she is now active, having been nominated, not by the German people but by the German Chancellor, in the fifth section of the International Juristic Commission of the ECtHR.

Consideration of national particularities?

Could it be that Renate Jaeger exercises this form of justice in the Haase case because she herself once made decisions as a judge of the German Constitutional Court? As it is, she told the German TAZ newspaper at the end of 2004, shortly before starting her job with the ECtHR that this international court should take "national anomalies" into account in its decisions, in order to avoid acceptance problems in the individual states. She could scarcely have meant acceptance by German citizens of the ECtHR decisions in the cases of Görgülü und Haase in 2004. In the meantime, she has presided over and decided on a case, as a judge of the ECtHR, in which she had already rejected the claimants' application as a German Constitutional Court judge. That really raises some questions!

Acceptance required, according to Gretel Diehl, Judge of the Higher Regional Court in Frankfurt?

The acceptance of a decision, and conversely the non-acceptance, which judges fear, as it infringes the „dignity of the law" are factors which affect judgements in Germany. For example Gretel Diehl, a judge with the Upper District Court in Frankfurt, was quoted as saying, on the 6th of June 2006 during a series of talks on the topic Implementation of Family Court Judgements ":

As the Jugendamt is bound to the law, and especially to the welfare of children, according to Diehl, no judge in Germany would make a decision contrary to the will of the Jugendamt, but will rather align his or her decision with the manner in which the Jugendamt would support it and be willing to implement it.

The Judges are in the Jugendamt!

Concretely, this means that the actual judges are sitting in the Jugendamt and that the judge is simply the mouthpiece of the Jugendamt, whose assumed competence in the issue of "welfare of the child" is legitimised by the legal power of his or her office

The fact that the juristically undefined, vague term, „well-being of the child" can be twisted to suit the opinion of the person making decisions about a child's situation is a well-known pitfall, as is the way this infringes on the principle of clarity, an important juristic tenet. In spite of this, neither the German Association of Psychologists nor the legislators have ever discussed or decided on a definition of „welfare of the child.

Thus, the Jugendamt continues its rampage in the wide field given it by the „well-being of the child", restricted only by the knowledge and conscience of the individual employee, without even professional supervision to monitor it or hold it in check. Although employees of this agency do make mistakes that cost many children their lives and keep families apart for years, if not for ever, the introduction of a professional supervisory authority has been rejected. This is, as stated for example by Prof. Wiesner from the federal Ministry, not possible for constitutional reasons. This interpretation is also shared by Federal Justice Minister Zypries and the Petitions Committee of the German Parliament.

Jugendamt displaying professional incompetence

The obviously clear suffering of children who have been neglected, abused or even murdered by their parents, or other adults, is attributed to parental failure and punished by removal of the child. The second root of this evil, however, the professional incompetence of badly trained Jugendamt employees without any professional monitoring, is not rooted out Instead, the whole institution of the family is placed under general suspicion, the Jugendamt given even more power to remove children and German citizens are encouraged to denounce their neighbours, in a manner reminiscent of East Germany, in order to protect the undefined „well-being of the child". This is all taking place, according to Dr. Wolfgang Bergmann, Hannover, known as an expert on such issues, in spite of the fact that the „Employees of the Jugendämter, [...] by virtue of their mentality, their admistrative authority and their training, are scarcely in the position to offer helpful support in every case of a difficult or problematic family." [1]

ECtHR concentrating on countries without a constitutional court?:

This decision-making practice could be what led Jaeger to make her statement about the acceptance of ECtHR decisions. It is obvious that acceptance of an ECtHR decision is dependent on the will of the Jugendamt and its national distinctiveness. For the case of the Haase family to be resolved, a decision had to be made that could be accepted by the Jugendamt. Such a decision could only involve the vindication of the Jugendamt and the revocation of the previous accusation of human rights violations.

This would also effectively deal with the decision of the German Constitutional Court in the Haase case in 2001, the fateful year for the Haase family, in which Jaeger was involved, in her capacity as a judge. As Jaeger stated in an interview with the German newspaper, the Tageszeitung, in 2004, due to overload the ECtHR had to concentrate on those states whose internal monitoring was less effective, due to lack of a constitutional court.

One can conclude that, due to her high esteem of the institution of the constitutional court, Jaeger did not pay much attention to the Haase case, as there was already a decision by the German Constitutional Court, which had taken into consideration Germany's national characteristics, thereby not perceiving any human rights violations in the removal of the children by the Jugendamt.

Must Germany adhere to federal laws? Zypries is dumbing down the people!

It might be an exaggeration to say that the Haase family had to let go of their human rights in the interest of the acceptance of the international decision. This conclusion does earn some allure in the context of public comments by the German Justice Minister, Brigitte Zypries, as well as by the EU Parliamentarian, R. Wieland. They stated that Germany does not have to implement ECtHR decisions word for word. Both of the above-mentioned politicians are hereby contradicting the German federal law relating to the European Convention for Human Rights (ECHR), in particular Article 46, which obliges Germany to implement the decisions of the ECtHR.

Essentially, the German state organs are irrevocably obliged, by Article 1, 2nd sentence of the German Basic Law, to uphold human rights, as they are constitutionally connected to justice and law:

„The German people therefore acknowledge inviolable and inalienable

human rights as the basis of every community, of peace and of justice in the


The organs of the German state are therefore likewise obligated to adhere to the dispensation of justice by the ECtHR as the highest European court, even if Federal Justice Minister Zypries, in an untenable statement on abgeordnetenwatch.de on 10.10.2007 rejected the translation of certain decisions of the ECtHR into German and also refused to place the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) on her website - http://www.gesetze-im-internet.de/ - along with the collection of German laws. The citizens of Germany are obviously being taken for a ride.

Zypries congratulated Jaeger on 29.04.2004, saying she was convinced that Jaeger would seamlessly continue her successful work in the German Constitutional Court in the same line as a judge at the ECtHR in Strasbourg. She stated further that Jaeger's knowledge of the workings and organisation of the courts would, in particular, be of great benefit to the European Court of Human Rights.

Zypries might only have had a vague idea that these assets would be extremely beneficial to Germany. In any case, this was soon proven by the drastically reduced number of German human rights violations, as recognised in Strasbourg.

The official argument is that this number is attributed to the excellent work of the German Constitutional Court, which already monitors on an internal basis, thereby reducing the load of the judges in Strasbourg. What is generally not mentioned is that this favourable balance is only possible because most constitutional complaints are disallowed, without any reason, and don't even get to the stage of a hearing. By giving complainants the "brush-off" in this way, the judges don't even fulfil the basic duty with which they have been entrusted, i.e. dispensation of justice. Simple laws cannot override the Basic Law. In other words, most of the complaints before the Constitutional Court don't even go on the record, preventing them from going up to the next level, in Strasbourg. The fact that there were more than 60 human rights violations recognised as such by the ECtHR among these winnowed-down cases, leads to the conclusion that the real number must be shockingly high.

If one were to follow the argument of ECtHR Judge Jaeger, one could conclude that, as a former Constitutional Court judge, she maintains that the mere existence of a constitutional court belies the existence of human rights violations. If this were truly the case, then Russia and Turkey would also be bathed in innocence; after all, these are countries which also have constitutional courts.

Luzius Wildhaber, former President of the ECtHR censures Germany

In the face of so many human rights violations in democratic Germany, Luzius Wildhaber, the former president of the ECtHR, was not able to follow Jaegers reasoning in her desire for greater consideration of national „characteristics". Instead, in December 2006, he denounced „some gaps in the knowledge" of the German judiciary and leadership with regard to the system of the Human Rights Convention. As a consequence, he demanded not only that the international decisions be clearly followed, as per Paragraph 46 of the European Convention on Human Rights, but also that human rights violations be dealt with more effectively on an internal basis. The grievances already censured by the ECtHR were to be eliminated. "That would be the best way." (tso/AFP)

The current decision in the Haase case has complied with this requirement in a manner that Wildhaber surely did not intend.

Not an isolated incident and Constitutional Court Judge Lübbe-Wolff rejects a translation into German

The Haase case is not the only example of German human rights violations due to official arbitrariness. According to Constitutional Court judge Gertrude Lübbe-Wolff in a speech in front of the Russian Constitutional Court, Germany was convicted of human rights violations a total of 62 times up until July 2006 by the ECtHR, including 28 cases based on Article 6 (Right to a fair trial). This right was infringed, for example, when trials were too long and drawn-out. According to Lübbe-Wolf, the Federal Ministry of Justice responded swiftly, promising to improve the situation and had already introduced a draft bill for speeding up trials by September 2006.

Zypries lulls the ECtHR, assisted by Lübbe-Wolff

As we know today, the European Court was quite simply lulled into acceptance in this manner by the Federal Ministry of Justice. Lübbe-Wolff's reference to the rapidly introduced draft bill served to calm the international plenum. As it is, German citizens have been waiting since 22.08.2005 (sic!) for the much-heralded legislative amendment dealing with complaints of failure to act in court cases which are unfair, due to their drawn-out nature. Thus, the legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary work hand-in-hand and in a kind of protectionist enmeshment in Germany: one could say, tongue in cheek, if it wasn't such a serious issue, that the judges can't do anything about this, as they do not have the legal backing.

„Judge" Jugendamt's refusal in the Görgülü case

On 14.10.2004 a decision by the German Constitutional Court made international waves, concerning the violation of the human rights of Kazim Gorgülü, who sought the contact with and custody of his son, who had been removed from him due to the actions of the Jugendamt. Although the ECtHR had censured the removel of Gorgülü's child as a severe human rights violation, the German Jugendamt refused to comply with the requirement that it hand over the child. When the father appealed against this, the first Senate of the Constitutional Court, to which Jaeger also belonged, stated that the European Convention on Human Rights did not have precedence over the German Basic Law, although Germany is also obliged to implement the decisions of the ECtHR. The principle of equality of arms in court means that the Jugendamt does not need an attorney, as the DIJUF e.V in Heidelberg assists it in this regard. If it does make use of the services of an attorney, then it doesn't have to bear any costs fort his, as these are paid by the taxpayer. Children and parents are obliged to bear all the costs on their side, including attorney and court costs, if they lose the case, which happens most of the time. This does not even include the emotional cost to the devastated families which had hoped to find succour through the courts.

Is it surprising, then, that insiders are commenting over and over again that, since Renate Jaeger has started working at the ECtHR, this court has barely established any human rights violations by German organs of state?

Federal president comes unwittingly into „Judge Jugendamt's" line of fire "

The reality looks much different. the Hoffmann family in Soest is just one of many families who bear witness to this. Under the slogan, "Removal is the simplest method", as described by Katrin Hummel on 13.03.2008 in the FAZ, a German daily newspaper, families in Germany put themselves in danger of having the whole family torn apart, of loss of property and of losing their good name merely by taking advantage of their right to apply for the German president to become godfather of their seventh child.

In such a case it can happen that over-eager Jugendamt employees invade the lives of a happy family, describing their house and furniture, and even the fruit in their garden, as „dirt" and go on to threaten them with removal of their children to force them to exchange their debt-free home for a city apartment in a high-crime, low-income area. If this doesn't have the desired effect, they call in their psychologists to draw up psychological evaluations. The evaluations, as drawn up by the obedient psychologists, who, after all, are being paid by the Jugendamt, establish the need to remove the children from the family. No wonder that the Hoffmann family in Soest lived in such fear. It is also no surprise that less and less young people in Germany want to become parents.

Childlessness - the best protection

The only surprise is that those responsible once again do not realise that the interests of the organs of state have no precedence over human rights and that the best protection for children in a country that treats children as property of the state is childlessness.

Animal protection and little white polar bears

In a country where baby polar bears get more attention from the press than human rights violations against parents and children, it might be worth going on an excursion into the world of animal rights:

The regulations governing the protection of animals and plants in the wild ( Bundesartenschutzverordnung - BArtSchV ) contain a thorough description of how animals living in the wild should not be treated. Parents and children do not have this benefit. They are dealt with arbitrarily by the organs of state, using the empty phrase „well-being of the child", which violates the principle of clarity.

Supervisory report 2007 - no change in practice except in the German section of the ECtHR:

The Supervisory report for 2007 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, which monitors the implementation of the ECtHR judgements, expresses this perfectly. German citizens whose family life has not been sufficiently protected by the organs of state look with disbelief at the report from page 180 and wonder why their appeals have been rejected by the ECtHR, through Renate Jaeger whilst the Committee of Ministers strongly urges the implementation of the decisions in other countries. Life is not easy for families with children in any of the 47 countries. Over and over again, government agencies violate human rights, instead of protecting them. The decisions referred to in the pages above state that children belong in their families and that they should have interact with each other to protect the roots of the children and the adults. This is in sharp contrast the one of the more recent decisions of the German Constitutional Court - concerning a father's duty to be available to his son born out of wedlock - that obviously does not want to protect human rights as declared by the human rights convention. Luzius Wildhaber's words are scarcely out of his mouth and already they have been forgotten. What, too, is the sense of an implementation resolution that does not give judges, or the psychologists who assist them in upholding their decisions full immunity and autonomy? As we know only too well, absolute power corrupts absolutely!

It is also astonishing that the Haase case, unimplemented decisions and all, does not appear anywhere on the 271 pages of the Supervision Report of 2007. Does this mean that, for Renate Jaeger, two children returned, one dead, equals three children with the other four somehow eliminated from the equation? And does this also signify that the crushing decision of the ECtHR from 2004 had been attended to, as far as the Ministers were concerned

A 56 year old grandmother who was looking after her grandchild, whose parents abandoned him and who was also removed from her by the Jugendamt said recently to me: This is not a good country for children or for those who love children.

Yours Sincerely (and Pensively)

Franz Romer



the remaining Haase family