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Some Aspects of German State Practice Concerning IHL*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 February 2009

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Extract

Germany is one of only a few countries to have prosecuted and convicted persons for international crimes related to the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. Three trial procedures were held between 1994 and 1998. Proceedings in a fourth case were due to commence in the fall of 1998. Two defendants were convicted, and their sentences are currently under appeal on questions of law.

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Current Developments
Copyright
Copyright © T.M.C. Asser Instituut and the Authors 1998

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References

1. Concerning Dusko Tadić, whose case was later deferred to the ICTY, Novislav Djajić and Nikola Jorgić.

2. According to the German Criminal Procedure Law (StPO), two types of appeal are admittable. An appeal on questions of fact is permissible from judgements only from certain courts (§312 StPO) and it can also include questions of law. An appeal on law does not allow a reexamination of the facts, but is restricted to a determination of whether the law has been correctly applied and whether the judgement is based on a correct application of the procedural rules (§338 StPO). Published in BGBl. (1998) I, p. 164 et seqGoogle Scholar.

3. For an evaluation of the practice of German courts see Ostendorf, H., ‘Die-widersprüchlichen — Auswirkungen der Nürnberger Prozesse auf die westdeutsche Justiz’, Hankel, G. & Stuby, G., eds., Strafgerichte gegen Menschheitsverbrechen: Zum Völkerstrafrecht 50 Jahre nach den Nürnberger Prozessen (Hamburg 1995) pp. 7398Google Scholar.

4. For an early comprehensive overview see Dahm, G., Zur Problematik des Völkerstrafrechts (Göttingen 1956)Google Scholar.

5. Other laws with recent amendments: The War Weapons Control Act (Kriegswaffenkontrollgesetz, BGBl. (1997) I, p. 1059Google Scholar); the Foreign Trade and Payments Act (Auβenwirtschaftsgesetz, BGBl. (1997) I, pp. 1439)Google Scholar; the Legal Status of Military Personnel Act (Soldatengesetz, BGBl. (1997) I, p. 2042); the Military Penal Code (Wehrstrafgesetz, BGBl. (1974) I, p. 1213); the Code for Military Discipline (Wehrdisziplinarordnung, BGBl. (1997) I, p 2042); and the Law of International Assistance in Criminal Matters (Gesetz über die Internationale Rechtshilfe in Strafiachen, BGBl. (1994) I, p. 1537)Google Scholar.

6. The law on the unification of the court system, Gerichtsverfassungsgesetz, BGBl. (1998) I, p. 1580 et seqGoogle Scholar.

7. The penal code, Strafgesetzbuch, BGBl. (1998) I, p. 164 et seqGoogle Scholar.

8. The penal procedural code, Strafprozeβordnung, BGBl. (1998) I, p. 164 et seqGoogle Scholar.

9. As provided in section 7.

10. Section 220a of the Penal Code.

11. Section 80.

12. For a general overview see Green, L.C., ‘Die Bundesrepublik Deutschland und die Ausübung der Strafgerichtsbarkeit’, 5 Humanitäres Völkerrecht (1992) p. 32 et seqGoogle Scholar.

13. For the specific problem of rape see Fischer, H., ‘Grundlagen der völkerstrafrechtlichen Verfolgung von Vergewaltigungen im bosnischen Krieg’, 11 Sicherheit und Frieden (1993) p. 71 et seq.Google Scholar; more generally see Wentzek, B., ‘Zur Geltung des deutschen Strafrechts im Ausland’, 39 Neue Zeitschrift für Wehrrecht (1997) p. 25 et seqGoogle Scholar.

14. For a general overview see Fischer, H. and Lüder, S., eds., Völkerrechtliche Verbrechen vor dem Jugoslawien-Tribunal, nationalen Gerichten und dem Internationalen Strafgerichtshof: Beiträge zur Entwicklung einer effektiven internationalen Strafgerichtsbarkeit (forthcoming)Google Scholar; Füth, D., ‘Die Verfolgung von Kriegsverbrechen durch deutsche Gerichte aufgrund des Weltrechtspflegeprinzips’, 10 Humanitäres Völkerrecht (1997) p. 38 et seqGoogle Scholar.

15. See Application for Deferral by the Federal Republic of Germany in the Matter of Duško Tadić also known by the names Dusan ‘Dule’ Tadić, Case No. 1 of 1994; Decision of the Trial Chamber on the Application by the Prosecutor for a Formal Request for Deferral to the Competence of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in the Matter of Duško Tadić (pursuant to Rules 9 and 10 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence.’ Case No. IT-94–1-D.

16. For a analysis of the German law relating to cooperation with the Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia see Kreβ, C., ‘Strafen, Strafvollstreckung und internationale Zusammenarbeit im Statut des Internationalen Strafgerichtshofes’, 11 Humanitäres Völkerrecht (1998) p. 151 et seq.Google Scholar; Oellers-Frahm, K., ‘Zusammenarbeit der Staaten mit dem Internationalen Strafgerichtshof für das ehemalige Jugoslawien nach Art. 29 des Statuts — Durchführungsregelung Italiens’, 7 Humanitäres Völkerrecht (1994) p. 60 et seqGoogle Scholar.

17. See also Oehler, D., ‘Verfolgung von Völkermord im Ausland’, 14 Neue Strafrechts-Zeitschrift (1994) p. 485 et seqGoogle Scholar.

18. Procedural Decision in the Tadić case.

19. Mitigating circumstances were only discussed in the Djajić case.

20. Kinkel, K., ‘Füreinen funktionsfähigen Weltstrafgerichtshof’, 50 Neue Juristische Wochenschrift (1997) p. 2860 et seqGoogle Scholar.

21. See also Zimmermann, A., ‘Die Schaffung eines ständigen Internationalen Strafgerichtshofes: Perspektiven und Probleme vor der Staatenkonferenz in Rom’, 58 Zeitschrift für ausländisches Öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht (1998) p. 47 et seq.Google Scholar; Ferencz, B.B., ‘Von Nürnberg nach Rom: Auf dem Weg zu einem Internationalen Strafgerichtshof’, 11 Humanitäres Völkerrecht (1998) p. 80 et seqGoogle Scholar.

22. UN Doc. A/AC.249/1997/WG.1/DP.23. Rev. 1 (12 December 1997). Also published in Humanitäres Völkerrecht 11 (1998), issue 2, p. 90Google Scholar.

23. See in particular for the negotiating process Kaul, H.-P., ‘Towards a Permanent International Criminal Court: Some Observations of a Negotiator’, 18 Human Rights Law Journal (1997) p. 169 et seqGoogle Scholar.

24. Supra n. 22.

25. See Kaul, H.-P., ‘Der Internationale Strafgerichtshof: Das Ringen um seine Zuständigkeit und Reichweite’, 11 Humanitäres Völkerrecht (1998) p. 138 et seqGoogle Scholar.

26. For an evaluation of the Rome statute see Tomuschat, C., ‘Das Statut von Rom für den Internationalen Strafgerichtshof’, 73 Die Friedens-Warte (1998) p. 335 et seqGoogle Scholar.

27. For a preliminary analysis see Lüder, S. Rolf, ‘Zur Inkorporierung eines Statuts für einen Ständigen Internationalen Strafgerichtshof in das deutsche und englische Recht’, 11 Humanitäres Völkerrecht (1998) p. 59 et seqGoogle Scholar.

28. For the question of deferral of German nationals see Rinio, C., ‘Die Auslieferung eigener Staatsangehöriger: Historische Entwicklung und neuere Tendenzen’, 108 Zeitschrift für die gesamte Strafrechtswissenschaft (1998) p. 356 et seq.Google Scholar; Schöbener, B. & Bausback, W., ‘Verfassungs- und völkerrechtliche Grenzen der “Überstellung” mutmaβlicher Kriegsverbrecher an den Jugoslawien-Strafgerichtshof’, 49 Die öffentliche Verwaltung (1996) p. 621 et seqGoogle Scholar.

29. Wilkitzki in 1987 did not see the need to adopt German penal law to the Geneva Conventions and Additional Protocol rules on grave breaches and war crimes. Wilkitzki, P., ‘Die völkerrechtlichen Verbrechen und das staatliche Strafrecht (Bundesrepublik Deutschland)’, 99 Zeitschrift für die gesamte Strafrechtswissenschaft (1987) p. 455 et seqGoogle Scholar.

30. Art. 103 para. 2 of the Basic German Law (Grundgesetz).

31. Art. 104 para. 2 of the Basic German Law (Grundgesetz).

32. The Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel of 1994; Protocol IV of the UN Conventional Weapons Convention (Blinding Laser Weapons) of 1995; amended Protocol II of 1996 of the UN Conventional Weapons Convention (Landmines); and the Landmines Convention of 1997. Germany also amended its law ratifying Protocol I concerning identification measures [Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and Relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts of 12 December 1977 (Zusatzprotokoll zu den Genfer Abkommen vom 12. August 1949 über den Schutz der Opfer internationaler bewaffneter Konflikte [Protokoll I] vom 12. Dezember 1977) Änderungsgesetz vom 17. Juli 1997, BGBl. 1997 II, S. 1366Google Scholar].

33. Economic and Social Council, draft res., 2 March 1995, E/CN.4/1995/L.88, p. 5.

34. The most explicit statement was made by Germany's representative to the UN, Ambassador Eitel, in 1996. He called upon all parties to the Afghan civil war not to hamper humanitarian assistance and to provide for the safety and full freedom of movement of the United Nations personnel and other international personnel as well as for the security of their premises. Statement by Ambassador Eitel, Permanent Representative of Germany to the United Nations to the United Nations’ 51st General Assembly, 13 December 1996, p. 2.

35. Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel of 15 December 1994 (Übereinkommen vom 15. Dezember 1994 über die Sicherheit von Personal der Vereinten Nationen und beigeordnetem Personal) Gesetz vom 5. Februar 1997, BGBl. (1997) II, p. 230Google Scholar.

36. Germany ratified amended Protocol II by the law entitled Protokoll über das Verbot oder die Beschränkung des Einsatzes von Minen, Sprengfallen und anderen Vorrichtungen in der am 3. Mai 1996 geänderten Fassung [Protokoll II in der am 3. Mai 1996 geänderten Fassung] zu dem Übereinkommen vom 10. Oktober 1980 über das Verbot oder die Beschränkung des Einsatzes bestimmter konventioneller Waffen, die übermäβige Leiden verursachenoder unterschiedslos wirken können. Gesetz vom 18. April 1997, BGBl. (1997) II, p. 806Google Scholar. During the negotiations, the German state secretary (Staatsminister) Schäfer argued in favour of a protocol encompassing non-international armed conflicts and peace-time situations (Statement by Mr. Schäfer at the Vienna Review Conference on the UN Weapons Convention, 29 September 1995, CCW/Conf.I/SR.2, p. 8.). In January 1996 the government declared an unlimited extension of the export moratorium of anti-personnel landmines, later to be complemented by the declaration that all anti-personnel landmines in German possession would be destroyed by the end of 1997.

Germany ratified Protocol IV to the UN Conventional Weapons Convention (Blinding Laser Weapons) by the law entitled Protokoll vom 13. Oktober 1995 über blindmachende Laserwaffen [Protokoll IV] zu dem Übereinkommen vom 10. Oktober 1980 über das Verbot oder die Beschränkung des Einsatzes bestimmter konventioneller Waffen, die übermäβige Leiden verursachen oder unterschiedslos wirken können. Gesetz vom 18. April 1997, BGBl. (1997) II, p. 806Google Scholar.

In an answer to a Parliamentary motion, the German Government in November 1995 reaffirmed its support shown during the Vienna negotiations that year (Statement by Mr. Schäfer at the Vienna Review Conference on the UN Weapons Convention, 29 September 1995, CCW/Conf.I/SR.2, p. 8.) to prohibit laser weapons that have a lasting effect on the human eye and that the mere production of these weapons should also be prohibited (Antwort der Bundesregierung vom 14 November 1995, Überprüfung des VN-Waffenübereinkommens (Wien 1995) BT.-Drs. 13/2998, p. 2.).

37. Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction of 3 December 1997 (Übereinkommen über das Verbot des Einsatzes, der Lagerung, der Herstellung und der Weitergabe von Antipersonenminen und über deren Vernichtung vom 3. Dezember 1997) Gesetz vom 11. Mai 1998, BGBl. (1998) II, p. 778Google Scholar.

38. Auswärtiges Amt (Hg.), Weltweite Ächtung von Antipersonenminen, Das 7-Punkte Aktionsprogramm des Bundesministers des Auswärtigen Dr. K. Kinkel (pp. 5, 8, 9, 19).

39. Beschluβempfehlung und Bericht des Auswärtigen Ausschusses vom 26.2. 1997, Anti-Personen-Minen, VN-Waffenübereinkommen, M (Sprengkörper), BT.-Drs. 13/7068, p. 2. (Annex 35) “The German Parliament appeals to the German Government to actively participate in the adoption of an international agreement on the complete prohibition of all anti-personnel landmines”. United Nations General Assembly Resolutions 51/45 entitled ‘An international agreement to ban anti-personnel land mines’ and UN-Resolution 51/49 which requested a strengthening of the revised Protocol II to the UN-Weapons Convention was co-sponsored by Germany.

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