Empty conference table © Peshkova (shutterstock)
The suspension of the victims' advisory board of the Protestant Church in Germany to accompany the abuse investigation meets with strong criticism from the most recently active members. On Monday the end had been announced.
"By unilaterally suspending the participation of those affected, the EKD is trying to evade criticism from those affected about its inadequate processes of coming to terms with the situation," reads a statement by four members of the advisory council circulated on Tuesday.
The EKD had announced the provisional end on Monday evening. The concept had failed, they said. The reasons for this are resignations from the committee, internal conflicts and disagreement between the advisory board and the EKD's counterpart, the council of commissioners, about how to proceed.
"We are not to blame for the failure of the panel"
In their statement, those affected defend themselves against a portrayal that names internal conflicts as the cause and thus blames those affected themselves for the failure of the board. The majority of members were in favor of continuing the joint work, he said.
A "viable path" would have been external process control, according to the memo signed by Katharina Kracht, Detlev Zander, Henning Stein and another former advisory board member using the pseudonym NKD.
The reason for the failure and the resignation of members is rather deficient structures, it was said. By March, five of the initial twelve members of the Affected Persons Advisory Council, which was only founded in September, had resigned. Among the reasons they cited were a lack of support from the EKD and a lack of funding for the body.
According to the EKD, the events are now to be scientifically evaluated. This, too, is criticized by those concerned. "Confidential protocols would thus be passed on against the will of those affected," the statement says. Affected people should not be made the focus of investigations.
One rejects this "categorically. When asked, a spokesman for the EKD said that it is not the committee itself that is to be evaluated, but rather the cooperation with the Council of Representatives, in order to gain insights into how the participation of those affected can be better organized in the future.
It is central and indispensable, the speaker of the commissioner council, the Braunschweig bishop Christoph Meyns, had explained on Monday evening. The EKD Council of Representatives for Protection against Sexualized Violence includes other leading clergy and church lawyers.