Military Penal Act

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Basic data
Title: Military Penal Act
Abbreviation: WStG
Type: Federal law
Scope: Federal Republic of Germany
Note also § 1a WStG for acts abroad
Legal matter: Criminal law , military criminal law
References : 452-2
Original version from: March 30, 1957
( BGBl. I p. 298 )
Entry into force on: April 30, 1957
New announcement from: May 24, 1974
( Federal Law Gazette I p. 1213 )
Last change by: Art. 10 G of October 30, 2017
( Federal Law Gazette I p. 3618, 3623 )
Effective date of the
last change:
November 9, 2017
(Art. 11 G of October 30, 2017)
GESTA : C153
Weblink: Text of the WStG
Please note the note on the applicable legal version.

The Military Criminal Law ( WStG ) regulates the special criminal law of soldiers . It is to be used in addition to the provisions of the Criminal Code . While it determines the prerequisites and legal consequences of criminal action, the procedure for enforcing its norms, the criminal procedure, is regulated by three separate codes of law ( Military Disciplinary Code and Code of Criminal Procedure and Youth Courts Act ). The WStG is accompanied by the Introductory Act to the Military Criminal Law (EGWStG) of March 30, 1957 ( Federal Law Gazette I p. 306).


The military penal law applicable to the Federal Republic of Germany today goes back to the disciplinary penal order for the German Imperial Army of the Frankfurt National Assembly of April 22, 1849 and the Military Criminal Code for the German Empire (MStGB) of the German Empire of June 20, 1871. This remained in force until 1945 and was amended several times, especially during the Second World War , many of the penalties provided for it were tightened.

A generally comprehensible short version of the MStGB, the so-called war articles , were read and explained to every soldier in the German Army both before the swearing-in and afterwards at regular intervals in their native language.

The structure of this MStGB from 1872 differs from that of today's WStG. Parts of the MStGB have now also been embedded in the general StGB; this applies in particular to treason and high treason .


The Military Penal Act is divided into two main sections:

General part: The basic rules are regulated here, such as B.

Military part: This contains the individual criminal offenses , classified according to the various obligations, e.g. B.

  • Offenses against the obligation to provide military service
  • Offenses against the duties of subordinates
  • Offenses against the duties of superiors
  • Offenses against other military duties

The code does not cover all of the criminal offenses of military disciplinary law. Various offenses are also regulated in decrees and regulations .


  • Joachim Schölz, Eric Lingens (Ed.): Military Penal Act . Founded by Eduard Dreher , Karl Lackner and Georg Schwalm. 4th edition. Beck, Munich 2000, ISBN 3-406-46492-0 .
  • Wolfgang Stauf: WBO, WDO, WStG, UZwGBw. Baden-Baden 2002, ISBN 3-7890-7889-1 .
  • Jürgen Schreiber : Military Penal Act (WStG). Explanatory book for soldiers with detailed notes, the texts of other laws, ordinances and decrees as well as many practical examples. Bernard & Graefe, Frankfurt am Main 1961.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Meyer's Large Conversational Lexicon . 6th edition. Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig / Vienna 1909 ( [accessed on May 23, 2019] Lexicon entry “War Articles”).