[Reportage] It’s Tuesday morning, 16 March. A cluster carcasses are at courtroom 19 of the Copenhagen City Court. Relatives, friends and journalists, all hope for a seat in the small courtroom, but two of the eight emerald-green gallery is reserved for the police. Someone must be protected. To be shared spaces, and the defendants’ families, including a mother from the U.S., and friends come first. The press has second priority.
After objections from the defense, go with the judge to move the hearing to a larger room, so nobody feels cheated, either relatives or the press. The first trial against climate activists Natasha Verco from Australia and Noah Weiss from the USA has begun.
The prosecutor and defense lawyers to take place. 34-year-old Natasha Verco and 27-year-old Noah Weiss sits surrounded by four massive Greek columns. Gray and significant raises from the floor to ceiling. This made important decisions. There is no doubt. The English-speaking interpreter sits in the middle of the defendants.
Prosecutors are presented. Climate activists are accused of being „instigators” and „coordinators” to a series of violent demonstrations and actions.
- Climate activist Natasha Verco is among other things accused of instigating and coordinating the ‘violent’ actions and demonstrations during the climate summit. Photo: Mark Knudsen / Monsun
The prosecutor must be clairvoyant
The actions according to prosecutor Lene Steffensen be underway during the climate summit in Copenhagen between 11 and 18 December 2009, and was only averted by the ‘effective police investigations and surveillance. Lene Steffensen whereas confiscated notebooks, SMS and telephone tapping by police between October and December 2009.
The words ‘could’, ‘would’ and ‘should’ is used frequently by the prosecutor during questioning. And according Lene Steffensen, it is quite normal that you are using „psychic” methods in such cases.
– It might seem as if we’ve looked into a crystal ball and predicted a few criminal incidents. But it is a prerequisite for such cases now that the crimes are not consummated, she says.
The prosecutor added that the accused together with „unidentified perpetrators” would perform acts of vandalism to buildings owned by the Confederation of Danish Industries, Shell, Maersk, the Danish Energy Association and Forum and assaulting police with various types of missile.
Telephone calls must wait
Lene Steffensen takes two black speakers, rather than playing intercepted telephone conversations between the defendants. But so far when she never, because the defenders are protesting against the letter and several formulations in the indictment.
Natasha Verco and Noah Weiss is indicted for crimes against public administration, crimes against public order and peace, organized vandalism and disturbance of utility. The defendants declare themselves innocent and Hanne Reumert as defender of Noah Weiss, start out by criticizing the indictment to be „inadequate.”
– The defense is difficult to relate to such diffuse accusations. It’s all about something that would, could or should have happened. It simply does not contain water, „says Hanne Reumert in recess for Modkraft.
– The indictment is so vague, what is time, place and form. It makes it very difficult to prepare a defense under the circumstances. Prosecutor talks about some unidentified perpetrators. This one can not call witnesses on, she adds.
What would you have done if …?
Natasha Vercos defender Steen Leonhardt Frederiksen is also baffled by the lack of clarification of the charges.
– There were more than 60 demonstrations up to and during the Climate Summit and Natasha Verco was arrested during these. It is not clear which of these demonstrations or actions, my client should have planned or would have participated in, if she had not been arrested, he said.
Tortuous legal wording in the indictment creates controversy between the defenders and prosecutors, leading to an extraordinary break. The judge will speak with his domsmænd. After a discussion about the harrowing phrases in the indictment stated that the Danish Industry’s offices at City Hall Square in Copenhagen can not be described as a ‘utility’.
- Both Australian and American Natasha Verco Noah Weiss is accused of planning actions that would have occurred during the climate summit. The picture is from a demonstration during the summit. The defendants were not present, but remand. Photo: Mark Knudsen / Monsun
It is a crucial detail, because climate activists so can not be prosecuted under criminal law article 193, dealing with disruption of facilities that serve to ordinary supply of water, gas, electric power or heat.
After about three hours legalistic starts questioning of the accused and the prosecution evidence. The only thing achieved is a brief interrogation of climate activists. The prosecutor would like to know what the two climate-activists made in Denmark between October and December 2009, and what they intend to do to the different climate-demonstrations during the climate summit.
American-born Noah Weiss replied that he read at the Technical University and he also is interested in climate on a general level. Natasha Verco explains that she is married to a Danish man and have many friends in the country. To probing questions about their intentions and plans for demonstrations if they had not been arrested, is the response again and anda: ‘I do not know, I was arrested.
The prosecutor is now a book of photocopies made. They come from Natasha Vercos private notebook, which was confiscated by the arrest. The prosecutor stresses the use of the word „nail scissors” and wonder into the relationship.
Natasha Verco reports that she helped to organize a demonstration to be conducted on 14 December under the banner of the Climate – No Borders. She was tasked to provide speakers and help with sleeping accommodation for activists. Nail scissors is not a real nail scissors, she said. It was the papier-mâché. The prosecutor asked again, somewhat amazed what a papier-mâché-bolt cutters should do to a climate-demonstration.
– Bolt cutters are a joke, but a serious symbol of how climate refugees are treated. They flee because of climate change that rich Western countries mainly helps to produce. Instead of helping them, locks them inside the asylum camps behind the fence. Them would symbolically cut away. But nail scissors were then made from papier mâché, corresponds Natasha Verco.
The answer does not the prosecutor satisfied, so she tries a new question. Papier-mâché or not.
‘I was arrested’
Prosecutor asks Natasha Verco would have participated in the demonstration on 14 December and, if so, what she would have done if she ran into the police. I can not say – I was arrested, is the response again.
Prosecutor meetings several times the same wall. Climate activists find it difficult to respond to assumptions. Before the audience sees on the time elapsed. Playback of telephone conversations and the hearing of three police officers have to wait until Friday the 19th March, where the trial continues. But this was the prosecutor Lene Steffensen also predicted.
– Two days is not enough. I had actually also seen coming. We need to take several days. We must find a judge, prosecutor and defender in between. It will likely appear first in August, „she Modkraft.
Si uie asa poti fi criminal pentru ce gindesti, sau ce ai face. Fapta nu mai este relevanta suficienta. Este relevant ca doar vrei.