Criminal Code (Germany)

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Basic data
Title: criminal code
Previous title: Reich
Criminal Code Criminal Code for the German Reich
Abbreviation: StGB
Type: Federal law
Scope: Federal Republic of Germany
Note also §§ 3–7, 9 StGB for offenses abroad
Legal matter: Criminal law
References : 450-2
Original version from: May 15, 1871
( RGBl. P. 127)
Entry into force on: January 1, 1872
New announcement from: November 13, 1998
( BGBl. I p. 3322 )
Last change by: Art. 5 G of 10 July 2020
( Federal Law Gazette I p. 1648, 1652 )
Effective date of the
last change:
July 17, 2020
(Art. 7 G of July 10, 2020)
GESTA : C126
Weblink: Text of the StGB
Please note the note on the applicable legal version.

The Criminal Code ( StGB , if differentiated also dStGB ) regulates the core matter of the substantive criminal law in Germany . While it determines the prerequisites and legal consequences of criminal action, the procedure for enforcing its norms, the criminal procedure , is regulated by its own code of law - the Code of Criminal Procedure . The penal code was enacted on May 15, 1871 (RGBl. 1871 pp. 128–203; penal code for the German Empire ) and has been in force since January 1, 1872. It has seen many changes since then, most of which concern the special section (Sections 80–358 StGB).


Before 1945

1914 Criminal Code

The original version of the penal code applicable to the Federal Republic of Germany today was adopted in 1871 and came into force on January 1, 1872 as the penal code for the German Empire . The version at that time was essentially consistent with the Criminal Code for the North German Confederation of May 31, 1870. This was based on the Prussian Penal Code of 1851, the preparatory work of which began in 1826. Attempts at reform during the Weimar Republic failed.

During the reign of National Socialism , in the spirit of the nullum crimen sine poena (no criminal offense without punishment) interpreted by Carl Schmitt as a “principle of justice”, the judge's commitment to the law was largely loosened and an analogy requirement was introduced. This meant that acts that had not been declared a criminal offense by the legislature could also be punished. The part of the changes in the criminal law made by the National Socialists, which was obviously contrary to the rule of law, was repealed by the Control Council Act No. 1 of September 20, 1945 .

After 1945

After 1945, the penal code was subject to many amendments with which the legislature reacted to changes in legal and criminal policy, to current social values, to recognizable gaps in criminal liability, but also to scientific and technical innovations. Further changes were based on the developments in the so-called old Federal Republic, the legal practice in the GDR since 1949, on the Unification Treaty of 1990 and on contemporary ethical and moral views (e.g. § 218 StGB ).

1945 to 1949

The Reich Criminal Code continued to apply even after the collapse of Nazi rule. On September 20, 1945, however, the Control Council Act No. 1 of the Allied Control Council invalidated all provisions that were of a political nature or exceptional laws. In addition to special laws and ordinances, this also included the law amending the provisions of criminal law and criminal procedure of April 24, 1934 (RGBl. I / 341, no longer in force through Art. Ic of Act No. 1), which directly affected the Reich Criminal Code . However, since there was generally no return to the legal status of January 29, 1933, z. As the at " perpetrators types oriented" criminal threat of murder paragraphs , which had also been introduced to the Nazi era, in effect.

Federal Republic 1949 to 1990

On the basis of Article 10 of the Third Criminal Law Amendment Act of August 4, 1953 ( Federal Law Gazette I, p. 735, 750 ), the Criminal Code was renamed under the title of the Criminal Code .

Following the abolition of the death penalty by Article 102 of the Basic Law, it was removed from the murder section in 1953 (Section 211 of the Criminal Code). Section 13 of the RStGB , which stipulated that the death penalty was to be carried out by beheading, was also omitted.

Another fundamental reform in the history of the German Criminal Code took place on June 25, 1969 with the 1st Act to Reform the Criminal Law (1st StrRG) . In the general part (AT) instead of penitentiary, prison, confinement and detention, a uniform term of imprisonment was introduced and honorary sentences were abolished. Also to be mentioned is the 2nd law on the reform of criminal law (2nd StrRG) of July 4, 1969 with effect from January 1, 1975, which among other things created a new general section that increased the minimum duration of imprisonment to one month A warning with reservation of punishment, introduced the daily rate system for the fine and redesigned the system of disciplinary measures.

With reunification , the introductory law to the penal code was supplemented by Articles 1 a and 1 b, as well as 315 (new version) and 315 a to c (Appendix I, Chapter III, Subject C, Section II, No. 1 (Federal Law Gazette II No. 35, 885, 955)), the Criminal Code itself was not changed by the Unification Treaty.

GDR 1949 to 1990

In the GDR - as in all of Germany - the Reich Criminal Code of 1871 continued to apply without the paragraphs that had been repealed by the Allied Control Council . In 1957, new state protection provisions and types of penalties were laid down with the Criminal Law Supplementary Act; on July 1, 1968 the penal code passed on January 12, 1968 came into force. It has been changed several times, finally the Treaty on the Creation of a Monetary, Economic and Social Union between the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany of May 18, 1990 stipulated that the Criminal Code of the German Democratic Republic should be repealed by […] the Sections 90, 99, 105, 106, 108, 213, 219, 249 are changed . As a result, a number of political acts and behaviors could no longer be prosecuted as criminal offenses. The rest of the penal code in its legal version was done with the reunification , whereby the Federal German penal code in some paragraphs (e.g. sections on preventive detention and sections 175, 182, 218 to 219 d, 236) according to Annex I, Chapter III, subject area C. Section III No. 1 (Federal Law Gazette II No. 35, 885, 957) (initially) were not extended to the accession area, i.e. the former GDR.

After 1990

The change in morality and society is also reflected in the criminal code. The StGB, which is now valid for the whole of Germany, includes examples of "new" crimes, such as membership in a terrorist organization , computer fraud , money laundering , withholding social security contributions and crimes against the environment with the changing technical and economic conditions. Other paragraphs, such as § 218, have been modified. In 1994, today's Paragraph 3 of Paragraph 130 of the Criminal Code was introduced, which makes public denial, approval or trivialization of National Socialist crimes a punishable offense. With the 6th Criminal Law Reform Act, which came into force on April 1, 1998, the range of penalties for property offenses was reduced and for bodily harm offenses increased. With effect from January 1, 2018, Paragraph 103 (lese majesty), which was only (re) introduced in the 1960s, was (again) deleted.


The Criminal Code is divided into two main sections:

general part

The general part of the Criminal Code contains the doctrine of crime and its legal consequences, as well as general regulations and definitions for judging criminal offenses.

Basics are regulated here, such as

special part

This contains the individual criminal offenses , arranged according to protected legal interests (so-called legal interests ), for example

The penal code does not cover all criminal offenses. Some offenses are also contained in other laws, e.g. B.

These are known as the secondary criminal law.

Legal policy

In October 2019, the responsible minister Christine Lambrecht presented key points on her agenda. After the alleged gang rape in Mülheim an der Ruhr , she spoke out against lowering the age of criminal responsibility below 14 years. Planned changes to individual elements of the Criminal Code relate in particular to filming dead people after traffic accidents and so-called upskirting , i.e. taking photos under the skirt. This also applies to the criminal prosecution of acts in which anti-Semitism is expressed.

See also




General part:

Special part:

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b Fischer, StGB, 58th edition 2011, introduction marginal no. 3
  2. ^ A b Gerhard Wolf: Liberation of criminal law from National Socialist thinking? In: Humboldt Forum Recht 9/1996, pp. 1–12.
  3. a b Fischer, StGB, 58th edition 2011, introduction marginal no. 4th
  4. Text of the Control Council Act No. 1 , accessed on January 8, 2019.
  5. ^ Tröndle: Criminal Code. Beck, Munich 2011, ISBN 978-3-406-60892-6 , p. 2.
  6. ^ The development of the dStGB , accessed on January 8, 2019.
  7. Everything about § 130 III StGB on , accessed on January 8, 2019.
  8. ↑ Lean of Majesty is history in Germany at , accessed on January 8, 2019.
  9. Christian Rath, "Not only Sunday speeches " LTO of October 10, 2019
  10. Tagesschau: After alleged rape - Lambrecht against criminal responsibility under 14
  11. Spiegel Online , Upskirting will become a criminal offense from September 12, 2019.
  12. ^ Zeit Online , "Anti-Semitic acts must be pursued with all consistency" of October 13, 2019.