Whistleblower testifies in Krichbaum trial

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It was an intense interrogation: a former EU official who describes herself as a whistleblower sat on the witness stand in the Pforzheim district court for four hours. In the appeal process, a 50-year-old defendant from the Enzkreis district is accused of defamation. As the PZ reported, she is said to have described the Pforzheim city councilor Oana Krichbaum as a “child trafficker” in four Facebook posts.

The witness worked until 2005 in the Commission for EU enlargement and, according to her testimony, dealt with the issue of child protection in Romania. At that time, adoption agencies from Romania are said to have worked together with agencies from other EU countries to place children from Romania with parents abroad.

A system that the EU official did not seem to be comfortable with. “It was legal back then. But history shows us that not everything that was legal is always good,” said the woman, who had traveled to Pforzheim from Belgium.

She was specifically concerned with the fact that these private agencies, a Romanian agency headed by Oana Krichbaum, accepted donations for child placement. Around 16,000 euros per child, as shown by case studies of German adoptive parents. At the time, this money was supposed to be spent on child welfare in Romania, however, it is difficult to understand where the money actually ended up.

“They are private agencies. This is a deal. It’s not about the best interests of the child,” the whistleblower said. At the time, the witness had published a book on the subject, which caused her to have difficulties with her job at the EU. Krichbaum herself testified in court that everything was “transparent” in the foundation.In the process of defamation in Pforzheim, the injured party now has a say.

What does this system of child adoption in Romania have to do with the current case? The question is whether the defendant was allowed to publicly call city councilor Oana Krichbaum a “child trafficker” in her Facebook posts in 2018 or not. According to the defendants lawyer Hubert Gorka, the 50-year-old only referred to corresponding newspaper articles from Romania and France in the posts, in which the term “child traffic” is said to have been mentioned in relation to the adoptive system.

Therefore, after the interrogation, Gorka applied for the proceedings to be discontinued. “We cannot expect a reader of a newspaper to know more than what is in the newspaper. That borders on arbitrariness,” says Gorka.

The trial will resume on Friday 3 February.