Germany's Federal Court of Justice made public Monday its ruling that the parliamentary commission investigating United States National Security Agency activities in Germany cannot be blocked from calling NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden as a witness, something German opposition parties had requested.
The court arrived at its decision on Nov. 11, but it was made public Monday.
"The ruling is an embarrassment for the grand coalition, which has attempted to sabotage a proper witness hearing for Snowden with threadbare arguments," said Konstantin von Notz, lawmaker for the Greens and chairman of the committee investigating the NSA spying scandal.
The ruling does not mean Edward Snowden, currently living in exile in Russia, will travel to Berlin to declare.
What it does mean is that the ruling coalition government's lawmakers cannot now block him from being called as an official witness.
Representatives of Germany's two main opposition parties _ Alliance '90/The Greens and The Left party _ had requested that Snowden be called as a witness in May 2014.
Since then, the ruling coalition parties blocked Snowden's citation, with the opposition then appealing to the court.
Now the court has ruled that if the request is supported by a quarter of the parliamentary commission, the witness citation must go through.
Snowden is considered the star witness of the inquest, which was created in the wake of the revelations that uncovered the NSA's covert activities in Germany that even compromised one of Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phones.
The German government argued that, until now, they couldn't guarantee the safety of Snowden _ who is on the run from US justice authorities _ and his presence in Berlin could lead to a diplomatic incident.
The government's coalition parties (conservatives and social democrats) had proposed, as a compromise, to question Snowden in Moscow.
However, the ex-NSA staffer refused to go along, stating through his lawyer that he will only stand as a witness if he is allowed to travel to Berlin.