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In criminal proceedings, the indictment is the application from the public prosecutor or a private prosecutor that initiates the judicial process .


The indictment has two functions. Through its information function, it gives the accused knowledge of the allegation made against him. Their delimitation function serves to concretize the act and to distinguish it from other life issues. The indictment defines the subject of the trial in terms of factual (time, place and act) and personal (perpetrator) respect ( principle of immutability ).


The indictment is vital to the rest of the process. The initial decision allows the indictment (sometimes modified), but always refers to the indictment. If an indictment is missing, this will be taken into account in the appeal ex officio. No particular complaint is therefore required.


Essential requirements for the structure and content of the indictment can be found in Section 200 of the Code of Criminal Procedure and No. 110 of the RiStBV .

The structure of the indictment depends on local customs. In this way, one can essentially differentiate between a southern German and a northern German version.

The following description refers to the Lower Saxony or North Rhine-Westphalia version.

The indictment begins with the rubrum in which the accused is individualized (by name, place of residence, birthday, place of birth, marital status, nationality). Then come the time and place of the commission. These have significance for the statute of limitations and the local jurisdiction of the respective court. All that is required is that a crime scene be given.

Next come the actual "cores" of the indictment: the abstract and the specification. The abstract repeats the legal text of the respective criminal norm. As far as special, legal circumstances existed e.g. B. "a life-endangering treatment", these are included. The concretization is the reflection of the abstract in the factual. Every element of the offense must find its equivalent. Is z. B. accused of theft , the specification must describe the movable property of another, the removal, the willful intent and the intent to assign. No comments are required on illegality and guilt . In practice it has become customary not to use the terminology of the law in the specification, which leads to somewhat cumbersome formulations.

After the concretization, special consequences are listed. So if the accused's license is to be withdrawn, it says, for example: "The act has shown the accused to be unsuitable for driving a motor vehicle".

The statutory provisions follow, first from the special part of the StGB or the ancillary criminal law and then from the general part of the StGB .

These parts, the order of which may vary depending on the federal state , form the charge and must be read out at the beginning of the main hearing .

Then comes the evidence and the main result of the investigation. The latter is the storytelling of the act, including the motives and the prehistory. At the very end are the prosecutor's requests. As a rule, it is only a matter of the application to open the main proceedings before the respective competent court , whereby the arbiter must also be named (see No. 110 para. 3 RiStBV). If necessary, the indictment must also include a motion to continue imprisonment (see no. 110 para. 4 RiStBV).

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Wiktionary: Indictment  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations