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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

German Verdicts Stand

KARLSRUHE, Germany ) -- Germany's Constitutional Court on Tuesday upheld sentences against leaders of the former East Germany who were convicted for the killings of people trying to escape to the West via the Berlin Wall and the internal German border.

The court ruled that the former officials could be sentenced by courts of the unified Germany, thus rejecting arguments on behalf of former East German defense minister Heinz Kessler, his deputy Fritz Streletz and the former leader of East Germany's Socialist Unity party for the Suhl region, Hans Albrecht.

The defendants had argued that shooting those trying to escape was in accordance with East German law in force at the time.