According to the investigators, in the case of twelve-year-old Luise from Freudenberg, who was allegedly killed by two girls, there may not be any official answers about what happened. "We cannot exceed the legal limits that are set for us just because the population thinks they have the right to know all the backgrounds," said senior public prosecutor Patrick Baron von Grotthuss from the Siegen public prosecutor's office on Friday.
The background is the protection of the privacy of minors. "Of course we will provide full information," he emphasized. If the two girls who confessed are confirmed as perpetrators, "then we will not make any statements about the course of the crime or motives."
"If we can and are allowed to provide information, we will certainly do so," said von Grotthuss. In such a special case - victims and suspects are children - you have to accept that there is certain information that is not for the public. "You have to live with that somewhere," he said.
The line of action met with criticism. "I don't think it's viable not to provide information about the motives and what happened even after the process has ended. The crime is too spectacular for that," said media law expert Prof. Tobias Gostomzyk from the TU Dortmund on request. "The protection of the alleged perpetrators must be respected, but it cannot rule out any information here, especially since they have already confessed."
"I don't think that would stand up in court because the act is so shocking and unique - so the public interest is significant. It is therefore not justified to withhold any information about it, provided that personal rights are adequately protected," said Gostomzyk. Otherwise, the media could assert their right to information in court.
Although the authority may withhold information in ongoing proceedings with a view to endangering the investigations, this reason no longer applies at the latest when the investigations are completed, said Gostomzyk.
Karl-Nikolaus Peifer, a professor of media law at the University of Cologne, said that children's privacy protections usually outweigh crime reporting interests. However, the protection of privacy and the interests of the report would have to be weighed up. There are no absolute bans, nor are there any absolute reporting requirements. "The individual case decides. If information is refused, this must be justified in any case," he said. The fact that caution prevails at the moment is probably due to the still unclear situation.
Two girls aged 12 and 13 had confessed to stabbing Luise to death on March 11 in a forest on the border of Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia. You can't investigate minors, "so that the file should actually be closed," said von Grotthuss.
However, the investigators should not be accused of overlooking possible other criminal facts in the course of the investigation. However, there is currently no evidence that anyone other than the two girls were involved. "Of course we will also question whether the confessions we have received are reliable and whether they are sustainable," said von Grotthuss.
The police and prosecutors went on the offensive on Friday with a statement against false reports in the matter. "Obviously there is speculation, especially on social media, that does not match the current status of the investigation," it said. The investigators asked not to participate "and not to fuel the discussions about the background to the incident, also to protect the relatives."
In addition, the social media channels of the two suspects were closed by order of the public prosecutor. In social networks, there had been numerous speculations on the profiles of partly anonymous users, as well as threats and hatred against the suspects. According to the police, it is constantly being checked whether anything criminally relevant is being posted.
The suspected girls left Freudenberg together with their families. A spokesman for the Siegen-Wittgenstein district said on Friday that they had been accommodated by the youth welfare office outside of the home environment. The "Siegener Zeitung" had previously reported. According to the public prosecutor's office, they are housed in "protected rooms".
The Professional Association of German Psychologists warned on Friday against speculation and hasty attempts at explanations. It is now important, "as the investigating authorities are doing, to act with prudence."