Collapse site of the Cologne city archive
Photo: Oliver Berg / dpa
Twelve years after the Cologne city archive collapsed with two dead, the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) in Karlsruhe overturned the acquittals for two site managers.
Another chamber of the Cologne Regional Court must now renegotiate, says the presiding judge Ulrich Franke.
At the time, the district court did not take into account the lack of coordination on the construction site, the lack of close-knit controls and the "accumulated number of incidents," he said.
"That is the mistake of law."
Violations of duty of care detected
The district court had found a violation of the two men’s duties of care in 2018. However, it then wrongly concluded that this was not the cause of the disaster of March 3, 2009. But that is exactly what has not been adequately checked. New witnesses will now be heard in Cologne, and experts will be invited. Only the indictment, which will be read out, remains the same. The public prosecutor's office had taken action against the acquittal of the two site managers. The revision is limited to the acquittals of the two accused employees of the construction companies involved, said a spokeswoman for the investigative authority at the time.
Co-plaintiff Marvin Pagel, the now 18-year-old half-brother of a victim, said of the decision: “I am not interested in atonement, but rather to clarify what happened, why it happened and whether someone can be held responsible for it. "On the other hand, it would of course mean an ordeal for his client if the whole procedure started again," said Pagel's attorney from the lower court, Bernhard Scholz.
"Before the death of the two people, any damage pales"
According to the indictment, workers came across a block of rock while excavating the pit in 2005, which they were unable to remove.
Instead, they would have dredged around the obstacle, creating a hole in an underground concrete wall.
Due to this defect, large amounts of sand and gravel suddenly collapsed into the excavation on the day of the accident.
The two victims, Pagel's 17-year-old half-brother and a 24-year-old local resident, were buried under the rubble and only recovered days later.
Countless documents were also spilled in the collapse.
According to an estimate by the city of Cologne, the damage is more than one billion euros.
"Before the death of the two people, any damage fades," said BGH judge Franke.
bbr / dpa