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Crime

Charges filed in 2010 Love Parade disaster

A public prosecutor in Duisburg has filed charges against 10 people for their role in the Love Parade disaster of 2010. The charges include involuntary manslaughter for the panic that resulted in the deaths of 21 people.

Wednesday's announcement from Michael Schwarz, Senior Public Prosecutor in the Germany city of Duisburg, indicated that six public servants from the city of Duisburg and four employees of Lopavent, the company that put on the Love Parade, were facing criminal charges. The charges include involuntary manslaughter and bodily injury caused by negligence.

Additional proceedings against six other people were stopped due to a lack of grounds for suspicion.

In June 2010, hundreds of thousands of techno music fans were at the Love Parade festival in Duisburg. A bottleneck formed at one of the tunnels leading into the festival grounds, and as people attempted to move in both directions through the tunnel, people began to panic. Nineteen individuals either suffocated or were trampled to death at the scene, while a further two victims died in the hospital. According to the statement from the public prosecutor Wednesday, at least 652 others were injured.

Accusations of responsibility bounced back and forth between the festival organizers and the city officials who had approved and overseen the permits necessary to hold the event.

Two main causes

According to the investigation that followed and was concluded Monday, "the fatal outcome of the Love Parade is solely due to two causes," read Schwarz's statement.

"Fatal errors with the planning and approval of the event as well as a lack of monitoring safety-relevant requirements on the day of the event led to" the deaths and injuries, the statement added.

In addition, the entrances and exits to the festival grounds were not adequate to handle the crowds that came. The prosecutor's office concluded that it should have been recognized by the public servants and event planners that the safety measures were inadequate and would result in a life-threatening situation.

Adolf Sauerland, the mayor of Duisburg at the time of the tragedy, is not among those facing charges. He resisted calls to resign after the tragedy but was later voted out of office. The head of Lopavent, Rainer Schaller, has not been charged, either.

"There are no reasons to believe that [Sauerland and Schaller] themselves had any influence on the faulty planning or on granting the unlawful approval," the prosecutors statement read. "They were also entitled to be confident that the persons who were responsible for the planning and approval would duly check the project on the basis of their expertise."

A district court must now decide if any of the charges will be brought to trial.

mz/jm (AFP, dpa)

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