At the height of the migration crisis, German authorities failed to investigate thousands of pieces of evidence suggesting that war criminals were seeking asylum in the country, Bild reports.
The newspaper cited a parliamentary probe by Germany’s Free Democratic Party (FDP) as saying that although the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees submitted about 5,000 cases of "crimes under international law" to the Federal Criminal Police Office and the Attorney General between 2014 and the beginning of 2019, only 129 such crimes were investigated.
In particular, almost 3,800 referrals were made between 2015 and 2016, but just 28 were further probed.
Speaking to Bild earlier this week, a German Interior Ministry spokesperson said that the “large number of referrals prevented immediate investigation of each case”.
The FDP’s Linda Teuteberg, a member of the parliamentary committee for internal affairs, for her part warned against war criminals being afforded protection in Germany.
“I have doubts as to whether the federal government has always pursued this in the past few years with due seriousness”, Teuteberg pointed out.
In line with Chancellor Angela Merkel's open-door policy, nearly 900,000 migrants were allowed to enter the country between 2015 and 2016, a number that has substantially shrunk since then and was far below the 220,000 projected in 2018.