Hans-Christian Ströbele

Hans-Christian Ströbele, German pronunciation: [hans ˈkʀɪsti̯an ˈʃtʀøːbələ], (born 7 June 1939) is a German politician and lawyer. He is a member of Alliance '90/The Greens, the German green party.

Hans-Christian Ströbele
2017-12-27 Hans-Christian Ströbele 7864 cropped.jpg
Hans-Christian Ströbele in 2017
Member of the German Bundestag for Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg – Prenzlauer Berg East
In office
1998 – 2017
Personal details
Born (1939-06-07) 7 June 1939 (age 81)
Halle, Province of Saxony
Political partyAlliance '90/The Greens
Alma materFree University of Berlin

Education and early careerEdit

Ströbele studied law and political science in Heidelberg University and at the Free University of Berlin. He has practiced law since 1969 in Berlin. In the late 1960s he was involved in the student movement. From 1970 to 1974, he was a member of the SPD. He was also a member of the "Socialist Lawyers' Collective" for ten years, and rose to national fame defending militants of the urban guerrilla group Red Army Faction and other defended political activists.[1]

In 1983, Ströbele was convicted by the Berlin District Court of supporting terrorist groups through his smuggling of information between members serving in prison. The Court concluded that Ströbele had helped decisively to keep the groups active during their time in prison.

Beginnings of the Green PartyEdit

Ströbele co-founded the "Alternative List for Democracy and Environmental Protection," a predecessor to the Berlin chapter of the Greens. He was a member of the Bundestag from 31 March 1985 until 1987 (the end of the term). On the Berlin state level, he helped facilitating the red-green coalition of 1989/1990.

Ströbele became the party’s spokesman in June 1990 but he stood down in February 1991 after opposing the Persian Gulf War. This included opposition to the delivery of Patriot missiles to Israel during an official visit of the party in the country. As of 1992 he continued as assemblyman of the Greens in the Tiergarten borough of Berlin.

Member of Parliament, 1998-2017Edit

In 1998, when the Greens became the junior partner in a government led by Gerhard Schröder, Ströbele entered the German parliament (Bundestag) through his place on the Green Party's electoral list. Since then, he has been a member of the Parliamentary Oversight Panel (PKGr), which provides parliamentary oversight of Germany’s intelligence services. Between 2002 and 2005, Ströbele also served as one of the deputy chairpersons of the Green Party’s parliamentary group in the Bundestag. He has also been serving as a member of the Committee on Legal Affairs since 2005.

During the early years of the Schröder government Ströbele became opposed to the politics of Green foreign minister Joschka Fischer, in particular the troop deployments in the Kosovo War (1999) as well as Operation Enduring Freedom (2001). Leading an effort to organize a 1999 national party congress to debate the party's stand on Kosovo, Ströbele collected 500 signatures from within the party to demand an end to NATO air strikes against Yugoslavia.[2] In 2001, he urged the Greens to leave the coalition government.[3]

During the pre-elections of the Greens to the 2002 German federal election, Ströbele was not given a place on the Green Party list, at that point generally assumed to be the only way a Green candidate could gain a seat in parliament according to Germany's proportional representation electoral system. In that situation he chose to campaign for a direct mandate in the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg Prenzlauer Berg East constituency holding positions that were remarkably different from the Green's official election campaign. Unexpectedly he won the direct mandate with 31.6% plurality vote becoming the first Green to hold a direct seat in parliament, and was the only one from 2002 to 2017. In the federal elections of 2005 he won another direct mandate, now with a 43.2% majority of the votes. Given his local reputation, other parties tried to counter him with creative campaigns (notably Vera Lengsfeld’s "We have more to offer") for the federal elections of 2009 but again Ströbele won the direct mandate, now by 46.8% of the vote and again with 39.9% in 2013.

In 2011, Ströbele joined Gerhard Schick, Anton Hofreiter and Winfried Hermann in their successful 2011 constitutional complaint against the refusal of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government to provide information on the Deutsche Bahn and financial market supervision. In its judgment pronounced in 2017, the Federal Constitutional Court held that the government had indeed failed to fulfil its duty to give answers in response to parliamentary queries and to sufficiently substantiate the reasons.[4]

In December 2016, Ströbele announced that he would not stand in the 2017 federal elections but instead resign from active politics by the end of the parliamentary term.[5] In the 2017 election, Ströbele was succeeded by Alliance 90/The Greens candidate Canan Bayram in his former electoral district.

Other activitiesEdit

  • taz Panter Stiftung, Member of the Board of Trustees
  • German Development Service (DED), Member of the Supervisory Board (1998-2011)

Political positionsEdit

Military engagementEdit

Ströbele has consistently voted against the participation of the German Bundeswehr in the NATO-led security mission ISAF in Afghanistan. In 2010, he abstained from the vote on German participation in United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon but has subsequently voted against its renewal.

In numerous cases, however, Ströbele has voted in favor of German participation in United Nations peacekeeping missions as well as in United Nations-mandated European Union peacekeeping missions on the African continent, such as in Darfur/Sudan (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015), South Sudan (2011, 2012 and 2013), and the Central African Republic (2014). Yet he opposed Operation Atalanta in Somalia (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013), EUTM Mali (2013, 2014 and 2015) and EUTM Somalia (2014, 2015 and 2016). In 2014, he abstained from the vote on a German mandate for the peacekeeping mission EUFOR RCA in the Central African Republic.

Intelligence servicesEdit

In 2006, Ströbele was one of the authors of a classified report prepared by a committee of the German Parliament that held closed-door hearings on the role of German intelligence during the Iraq War. The German report confirmed many details in a 2005 classified report by the United States Joint Forces Command which spoke of the German intelligence liaison officer working in coordination with American intelligence in Qatar. However, Ströbele contended that the parliamentary report was largely based on incomplete and partially censored information provided by the German intelligence agency BND and wrote a dissenting comment on the report which he posted on his Web site.[6]

On 31 October 2013, Ströbele – then the longest serving member of the parliamentary committee that oversees German intelligence[7] – and journalist Georg Mascolo met with Edward Snowden in Moscow to discuss the possibility of the NSA whistleblower testifying before the German parliamentary committee investigating foreign spying in Germany and obtaining access to cell phone calls on German government officials, including Chancellor Angela Merkel.[8][9]

Visit of Pope Benedict XVIEdit

When Pope Benedict XVI addressed members of the German Parliament during his first official visit to Berlin in 2011, Ströbele – who had opposed the pope’s appearance due to his positions on women in the church, gay rights and victims of sexual abuse by priests – stood up and left as the speech began. Benedict then singled his party out for praise, saying that “the emergence of the ecological movement in German politics since the 1970s” represented a “cry for fresh air which must not be ignored or pushed aside.” [10]

Eurozone crisisEdit

During the Eurozone crisis, Ströbele was the only member of the Green Party's parliamentary group to vote against Germany's support for implementing a series of financial support measures such as the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) and European Stability Mechanism (ESM) in June 2012,[11] citing constitutional objections.[12]

Arms exportsEdit

Following a controversial 2011 deal to export German tanks to Saudi-Arabia, Ströbele threatened to appeal to the Federal Constitutional Court should the federal government continue to refuse to release any information. In 2014, he – alongside fellow Green Party parliamentarians Katja Keul and Claudia Roth – lodged a complaint before the Federal Constitutional Court, arguing that it was unconstitutional for the government to keep the Bundestag in the dark about planned arms deals because it prevented the parliament from doing its job of keeping the government in check. The court ruled that while the government did not have to disclose information about planned defense exports, it did have an obligation to provide the Bundestag with details, on request, once specific arms deals had been approved.[13]


German journalist and documentarian Billy Six has written a biography of Hans Christian Ströbele in the book ″Das grüne Irrlicht″.[14]

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ Harriet Torry and Paul Sonne (November 1, 2013), Germany Open to Speaking to Snowden "Wall Street Journal".
  2. ^ John Schmid (April 1, 1999), Bombing Reported Causing 'Unrest' in Greens Party : Pacifists Speaking Up in Bonn "International Herald Tribune".
  3. ^ Edmund L. Andrews (November 25, 2001), German Greens Patch Rift And Support Use of Military "New York Times".
  4. ^ The Federal Government’s refusal to provide information on the Deutsche Bahn AG and financial market supervision was unlawful Federal Constitutional Court, press release no. 94/2017 of 7 November 2017.
  5. ^ Stephan Wiehler (December 14, 2016), Ströbele geht, die Revolution muss warten Tagesspiegel.
  6. ^ Richard Bernstein and Michael R. Gordon (March 2, 2006), Berlin File Says Germany's Spies Aided U.S. in Iraq "New York Times".
  7. ^ German Politician Meets With Snowden "New York Times", October 31, 2013.
  8. ^ Lawmaker: Edward Snowden wants to testify, says he's no 'enemy of America' (CNN, 2013-11-1)
  9. ^ Oliver Suess (October 31, 2013), German Green Party Lawmaker Met With Snowden Seeking Testimony "Bloomberg".
  10. ^ Nicholas Kulish and Judy Dempsey (September 22, 2011), Pope Weathers Protests and Boycotts in First Official Visit to Germany "New York Times".
  11. ^ Deutscher Bundestag: Stenografischer Bericht der 188. Sitzung des Deutschen Bundestags, S. 132.
  12. ^ ESM und Fiskalpakt sind die falschen Mittel gegen die Finanz- und Bankenkrise, press release of 29 June 2012 at stroebele-online.de
  13. ^ German court rules against more disclosure in arms deals Deutsche Welle, October 21, 2014.
  14. ^ https://deutschelobby.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/das-grc3bcne-irrlicht-stroebele-auszug.pdf

External linksEdit