When Beate Zschäpe arrived at Munich’s Upper Regional Court on Tuesday, wearing a plain gray suit, her calm appearance contrasted with what some commentators are calling one of the most important trials in Germany’s postwar history. The 38-year-old stands accused of being a member of a neo-Nazi cell responsible for a series of racially motivated murders across the country. Her first appearance the week before prompted one German newspaper to editorialize that “Evil has a face. An ordinary face.”

The case, which finally commenced this month after many delays, features 600 witnesses, 49 lawyers representing 71 joint plaintiffs and a bill of indictment against Zschäpe — who if convicted could be sentenced to life in prison — that runs nearly 500 pages. With more than 80 days allocated for the trial, which German legal experts say could drag on till 2014, Zschäpe and right-wing extremism will be sure to be under…

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