The decision overrules the northern city of Braunschweig’s state court’s prior ruling that it did not have the jurisdiction, because suspect Christian Brueckner did not live there.
The court had argued its supposed responsibility for the case had been based on the suspect’s last residence before he went abroad and subsequently to prison.
However, further evidence of a later residence in the neighbouring state of Saxony-Anhalt, where Brueckner was registered as the owner of a property that he kept after going abroad, means it can hear the case.
In October 2022, prosecutors charged the 45-year-old – who is currently serving a seven-year sentence for a rape he committed in Portugal in 2005 – in several separate cases involving sexual offences allegedly committed there between 2000 and 2017.
Brueckner hasn’t been charged in the McCann case, but he remains under investigation for murder. He has denied any involvement in her disappearance but is believed to have lived in Portugal between 1995 and 2007.
He was first named in connection with the unsolved mystery in summer 2020, and officially named as a suspect last year. His yellow and white VW T3 Westfalia campervan was reportedly identified as having been near to the Praia da Luz resort where Madeleine went missing.
German prosecutors say telecomms data shows Brueckner received a phone call on 3 May 2007 – the day that Madeleine went missing – near the Praia da Luz holiday apartment. But he reportedly claims to have been miles from the scene with a young German woman.
In April 2022, he was jailed for the rape of a 72-year-old woman in the same resort. In total, it is believed he has 17 convictions including burglary, and he has also been linked to other disappearances of children.