CHAPTER II Structure And Scope Of Application Of The German Criminal Code

VerfasserK. Neumann
Amt des AutorenSir


  1. The German Criminal Code (StGB) is divided into three parts:

    (a) Introductory provisions relating to the three categories of offences, to their limitation by time and to the conflict of laws (Sections 1-12).

    (b) Part I (General Part) (Sections 13-29): Punishment of Verbrechen (grave offences), Vergehen (offences of moderate gravity) and Ubertretungen (petty offences) under the following sub-headings:I. Punishments. Ia. Measures for Security and Reform. II. Attempt.

    1. Participation. IV. Facts which operate to exclude or mitigate punishment. V. Multiplicity of Offences;

    (c) Part II (Specific Part) (Sections 80-370): Specific offences and their punishment, detailed in 29 chapters (Abschnitte) with several hundred sections (Paragraphen).,SECTION II.-SCOPE OF APPLICATION 7. The StGB deals only with criminal law in its restricted sense, i.e., with the law which prescribes the penal or other measures to be inflicted for the commission of a criminal offence. It has no concern with so-called 'noncriminal ' offences or penalties. ' Non-criminal ' in this sense are: Technical offences against police regulations and administrative orders; offences against the discipline and honour of the civil service, i.e., such offences as are dealt with by disciplinary regulations and by the sanctions laid down in the laws relating, e.g., to civil service courts of honour; procedural penalties, the purpose of which is to compel the performance of certain procedural duties (such as the giving of evidence). The distinction is of practical importance.

    The principle ne bis in idem is not applicable in the case of a 'criminal' penalty on the one hand and a ' non-criminal' penalty on the other.

    EXAMPLE: A defendant who insults the judge in court may be punished both for contempt of court (non-criminal) because mere violation of a procedural duty and in addition be indicted under 185 StGB for criminal slander; a civil servant who has been dismissed from the service for improper behaviour by a disciplinary court may in addition be prosecuted for embezzlement in the ordinary criminal court.

  2. In conformity with the French Penal Code of 1791, section 1 of the German criminal code distinguishes between Verbrechen (serious offences), Vergehen (offences of moderate gravity) and Ubertretungen (petty offences) according to the severity of the punishment capable of infliction under the law (not according that actually...

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