There’re will be two differnt lawsuits against the activists – criminal law and civil law.
The activists are accused of trespass, breach of a public operation and resistance against executory officers – that’s the criminal-law-part.
It’s a well-known phenomenon that the state is prosecuting persons by criminal law because of their political activities. However, it’s a recent development that also the destructive companies targeted by actions demand damage compensation. In the German legal system, this is possible because of the so called “Zivilrecht” – the civil law as a part of the private law. RWE is telling us now: “You’ve blocked us, we weren’t able to generate profit, now you have to pay for our outage”. To us it’s obvious that RWE’s power plants are destroying the livelihood of humans all around the world. That’s why a blockade isn’t a cause of loss but damage containment.
Already a long time ago (in 2013), RWE started to send so called “Unterlassungserklärungen” (declarations of omission) to climate activists as a disincentive. This means that they’re trying to force persons to sign some kind of contract that these persons will never protest at the company’s premises again. Many of the affected activists have refused to sign this declaration. As a result, some have been taken to court by RWE and have defended themselves against it. Their resistance has contributed to the fact that RWE didn’t judicially charge many of the others. RWE, however, is taking a big step forward now:
They’re demanding 2 071 484 euros and 26 cents in total from five activists and a journalist. Do they actually hope for results of the trial that will favour them – and do they believe that the activists will then just transfer this humble sum to their bank account? Are the big bosses in the company’s executive suites already discussing about what to do with the cash injection coming soon? Of course not. You can’t get blood from a stone – and RWE knows that the activists wouldn’t be able to pay those debts.
The whole procedure is happening in order to keep persons from doing actions that block infrastructure directly. RWE’s plans are not succeeding in this. On the one hand, the climate justice movement has grown bigger and is more disobedient than ever before. On the other hand, the trial will also give further opportunity to denounce the destructions caused by fossil capitalism. So far, there’re no fixed dates for the court trial concerning the (private) civil law. This trial will only begin after the one concerning the (public) criminal law has been finished.