The decision by the German Constitutional Court to allow the army to carry out domestic military operations marks a turning point in the history of the Federal Republic similar to the passage of Emergency Laws in May 1968.
At that time, the German parliament amended 28 articles of the constitution to permit the government to suspend or restrict basic democratic rights in the event of war, a domestic state of emergency or a natural disaster. The Emergency Laws also allowed the deployment of the German Army (Bundeswehr) domestically, but only “in order to avert an imminent danger to the existence or free democratic order of the Federation or a state,” or to combat “organised armed insurgents.”
The judgment by the Constitutional Court published last week (See: “German Constitutional Court legalizes use of Army inside Germany“) goes much further. It lowers the threshold for the use of the Army domestically and permits it not only to reinforce the police, but also to use weapons such as fighter jets and tanks.
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