The treason is as a rule a crime against the state defined. It is found as a criminal offense in the statutes of most independent states.
Current penal norm
According to German criminal law, treason is a crime regulated in Section 94 of the Criminal Code , which is directed against external security and the existence of the state. The offense of treason is the core offense of espionage . Treason is committed by anyone who discloses a state secret of a foreign power or one of its middlemen or otherwise allows it to reach an unauthorized person or makes it publicly known in order to disadvantage the Federal Republic of Germany or to favor a foreign power, and thereby the danger of a serious disadvantage for the external security of Federal Republic of Germany brings about. According to Section 93 of the Criminal Code, state secrets are facts, objects or knowledge that are only accessible to a limited group of people and must be kept secret from a foreign power in order to avert the risk of serious detriment to the external security of the Federal Republic of Germany. Such a danger exists, for example, if a foreign power can use the secret to reduce the clout of the Bundeswehr .
It follows from the definition that industrial and economic espionage are not included in the offense of treason, unless their betrayal also has an impact on external security. A punishment requires at least conditional intent , with the exception of Section 94 (1) No. 2 of the Criminal Code, which requires the intention to disadvantage the Federal Republic of Germany or to favor a foreign power.
According to Section 97a of the Criminal Code, anyone who passes on illegal secrets within the meaning of Section 93 (2) of the Criminal Code to a foreign power is punished like a traitor .
"Foreign power" is in all cases a foreign government or a similar institution outside the Federal Republic of Germany that is equipped with appropriate means of power.
The disclosure of state secrets ( § 95 StGB), treasonous spying ( § 96 StGB) as a preparatory act for state treason, the disclosure of state secrets and are counted as treason in the broader sense - summarized in the Criminal Code under the term "endangering external security" treasonous forgery ( § 100a StGB). The spy himself can be punished in the run-up to the actual betrayal for treasonous agent activity or for secret service agent activity according to § 98 , § 99 StGB.
Section 353a of the Criminal Code is often viewed as obsolete : breach of trust in the foreign service .
The most spectacular accusations of treason in German history were the Leipzig high treason trial in the founding period of the German Empire, the Weltbühne trial in the Weimar Republic and the Spiegel affair in 1962. In addition, the MfS spies Günter Guillaume (1975) who were convicted of treason were also included. and Klaus Kuron (1992) on this. There were also investigations around 1982 against the journal Konkret .
In July 2015 it became known that Federal Prosecutor General Harald Range had initiated criminal proceedings against two journalists on the blog netzpolitik.org and their unknown source following a complaint by the President of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Hans-Georg Maaßen . The reason for this is the publication of a document classified by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution itself on the second lowest level of secrecy "VS-CONFIDENTIAL" (VS -vert.), From which it emerges that the state security officers have 2.75 million euros available for mass data collection from a secret state budget fund . An initial expert opinion on the classification of the documents as a state secret was prepared by Maaßen himself. After a national wave of outrage, the Federal Public Prosecutor stopped the investigation on July 31, 2015, until an opinion on the criminality of the publication of the documents has been completed. A preliminary assessment of the external expert supported the legal opinion of the Attorney General and classified the published documents as a state secret. According to Range, after forwarding this result, the Ministry of Justice instructed the Attorney General not to have the full report drawn up. The Ministry of Justice subsequently disagreed with this presentation and stated that the decision not to have the report drawn up had been taken days earlier in agreement with Range, when no preliminary results were available. Justice Minister Heiko Maas took the conflict in the matter as an opportunity to initiate Range's retirement. The proceedings were closed on August 10, 2015.
Suspected CIA agent Markus R. was charged with double treason in August 2015. The BND employee arrested on July 2, 2014 is accused of spying for both the US intelligence agency, the CIA, and secret information for the Russian Federation to have transmitted.
In Prussia there have been two classifications of this crime since the introduction of the General Land Law in 1794: Anyone who undertook to surrender entire parts of the country, army parts or fortresses into enemy hands was punished as first class traitor with death by wheels from below.
Undertakings of minor importance in favor of an enemy of the state were punished as second class treason. These included: Aid to attack or obstruction of Defense ( death by train ), implementation of turmoil in fortresses or corruption of magazines or storehouses (death by wheels from above), intentional arson of cities, villages, storehouses or open magazines (death by burning ), Supporting the enemy with weapons of war or food (death by the sword ), scouting for the enemy or transmitting important war messages (death by hanging) and hiding enemy scouts (4-6 years imprisonment ).
In Bavaria , since the introduction of the penal code for the Kingdom of Bavaria in 1861, anyone who, staying in Bavaria or in Bavarian service, stirs up a foreign power to wage war against the Kingdom of Bavaria has been considered a traitor. If it comes to this war, the punishment should be death, otherwise prison should not be less than eight years.
The GDR Criminal Code also rated the disclosure of information as “treason” that is not subject to confidentiality, but the disclosure of which outside the GDR is detrimental to the country's reputation. The standard was worded as follows:
- Section 99. Treasonous communications.
- (1) Anyone who hands over, collects or makes accessible to the entities or persons (= foreign entities and persons) named in Section 97, which are not subject to confidentiality, to the detriment of the interests of the German Democratic Republic , is subject to imprisonment from two to punished for twelve years.
- (2) Preparation and attempt are punishable.
In Austria , the relevant offenses are summarized in Section 16 of the Criminal Code ( StGB ) under the title "Treason". The central norm is § 252 StGB:
Betrayal of state secrets
- § 252.
- (1) Anyone who makes a state secret known or accessible to a foreign power or a supranational or intergovernmental institution shall be punished with imprisonment of one to ten years.
- (2) Anyone who makes a state secret known or accessible to the public shall be punished with imprisonment from six months to five years. If the state secrecy concerns facts endangering the constitution (Paragraph 3), the perpetrator is only to be punished if he acts with the intention of causing a disadvantage to the Republic of Austria. The erroneous assumption of unconstitutional facts does not exempt the perpetrator from punishment.
- (3) Facts that endanger the constitution are those which reveal efforts to unconstitutionally remove the democratic, federal or constitutional structure of the Republic of Austria, to abolish its permanent neutrality or to abolish or restrict a constitutionally guaranteed right or to repeatedly violate such a right.
In Switzerland , a distinction is made between diplomatic (civil) and military treason.
Diplomatic treason is under the heading of crimes and offenses against the state and national defense in Art. 267 no. 1–3 of the Swiss Criminal Code ( StGB ):
- Anyone who deliberately discloses or makes accessible to a foreign state or its agent a secret, the preservation of which is required for the benefit of the Confederation, who falsifies or destroys documents or evidence relating to legal relationships between the Confederation or a canton and a foreign state, put aside or stolen, thereby deliberately endangering the interests of the Confederation or the canton, anyone who, as an agent of the Confederation, deliberately conducts negotiations with a foreign government to the detriment of the Confederation will be punished with a prison sentence of no less than one year.
- Anyone who deliberately discloses or makes accessible to the public a secret that is required to be kept for the benefit of the Confederation is punished with imprisonment of up to five years or a fine.
- If the offender acts negligently, the penalty is imprisonment for up to three years or a fine.
Military treason is under the heading of crimes or offenses against national defense and against the military strength of the country in Art. 87 para. 1–4 of the Military Penal Act (MStG) :
- Anyone who deliberately disrupts or endangers the operations of the Swiss Army at a time when troops are called up for active service, who in particular damages or destroys means of transport or communications, equipment or property serving the Army, or the operation of institutions belonging to the Army serving, hindering or disturbing, is punished with imprisonment not less than three years.
- Anyone who deliberately disrupts or endangers the operations of the Swiss Army at a time when troops are called up for active service, who in particular disrupts public order or hinders or disrupts operations that are important for the general public or the army administration, will be sentenced to imprisonment or fine not below 180 daily rates.
- In severe cases, a life sentence can be recognized.
- If the offender acts negligently, the penalty is imprisonment for up to three years or a fine.
- Gerhard Jungfer , Ingo Müller : 70 years of the Weltbühnen judgment . In: New legal weekly . 2001, p. 3461-3465 .
- Ingo Müller: The famous Ossietzky case from 1930 could repeat itself at any time ... In: Hans-Ernst Böttcher (Hrsg.): Right Justice Criticism. Festschrift for Richard Schmid on his 85th birthday . Nomos Verlag, Baden-Baden 1985, ISBN 3-7890-1092-8 , p. 297-326 .
- Swiss Criminal Code - Diplomatic Treason
- Military Criminal Law - Military Treason
- Hervé de Weck : Treason. In: Historical Lexicon of Switzerland .
- ↑ Fischer, StGB, 58th edition 2011, § 94 StGB, Rn. 6th
- ^ Fischer, StGB, 58th edition 2011, § 93 StGB, Rn. 7th
- ↑ Fischer, StGB, 58th edition 2011, § 94 StGB, Rn. 7th
- ^ Fischer, StGB, 58th edition 2011, § 93 StGB, Rn. 6th
- ↑ See Fischer, StGB, 58th edition 2011, § 353a StGB, marginal no. 1: “no practical relevance”.
- ^ Christian Rath: "Operation Eva" , taz.de , August 10, 2015.
- ↑ Stefan Krempl: Allegation of treason: Federal Attorney General investigates Netzpolitik.org - heise online. In: heise.de. July 30, 2015, accessed July 31, 2015 .
- ↑ Andre Meister: “Suspicion of treason”: Federal Prosecutor General is also investigating us, not just our sources. In: netzpolitik.org. July 30, 2015, accessed July 31, 2015 .
- ↑ The protection of the constitution in the Netzpolitik.org case - And what about Maaßen? In: tagesschau.de. August 3, 2015, archived from the original on August 5, 2015 ; Retrieved August 5, 2015 .
- ↑ Reinhard Müller, Jonas Jansen: Attorney General stops investigations against journalists - for the time being , FAZ from July 31, 2015.
- ↑ Declaration by the Federal Public Prosecutor on the investigation into the possible criminal disclosure of a state secret. (Press release) The Attorney General at the Federal Court of Justice, August 4, 2015, archived from the original on August 23, 2015 ; accessed on August 23, 2015 .
- ↑ a b Maas puts Range into retirement. In: zeit.de. August 4, 2015, accessed August 4, 2015 .
- ↑ Federal Attorney General discontinues investigations against Netzpolitik.org. In: Süddeutsche Zeitung . August 10, 2015, accessed August 11, 2015 .
- ^ Charges of treason and other criminal offenses. (Press release) The Attorney General at the Federal Court of Justice, August 20, 2015, archived from the original on August 23, 2015 ; accessed on August 23, 2015 .
- ↑ Prussian General Land Law Title 20 Sections 100-103 (PDF; 660 kB)
- ↑ Prussian General Land Law Title 20 Sections 104–112 (PDF; 660 kB)
- ↑ Criminal Code for the Kingdom of Bavaria, Art. 110