§ 1. No punishment without statutory law.
An act can be punished only if it had been made punishable by statutory law prior to the act’s commission.
§ 2. Temporal applicability.
(I) The punishment and its collateral effects are determined by the statutory law applicable at the time of the act.
(II) If the penal threat is amended during the act’s commission, then that statutory law is to be
applied which is applicable at the act’s completion.
(III) If the statutory law applicable at the act’s completion is amended before the judgment, then the most lenient statutory law is to be applied.
(IV) A statutory law that is intended to be applicable only for a specified time is to be applied to acts committed while it is applicable, even if it has expired. This does not apply insofar as a statutory law provides otherwise.
(V) Subsections (I) to (IV) correspondingly apply to forfeiture, confiscation and disablement.
(VI) Measures of betterment and security are to be determined according to the statutory law applicable at the time of judgment, unless provided otherwise by statutory law.
§ 3. Applicability to acts within the country.
German penal law is applicable to acts committed within the country.
§ 4. Applicability to acts on German ships and aircraft.
German penal law is applicable, independent of the law of the place of the act, to acts committed on a ship or an aircraft entitled to display the federal flag or the insignia of state membership of the Federal Republic of Germany.
§ 5. Acts outside the country against law goods within
German penal law is applicable, independent of the law of the place of the act, to the following acts committed outside the country:
1. Preparation for a war of aggression (§ 80);
2. High treason (§§ 81 to 83);
3. Endangering the democratic law state
(a) in cases under §§ 89, 90a(I) and 90b, if the actor is a German and the foundation of his life lies within the scope of spatial applicability of this law, and,
(b) in cases under §§ 90 and 90a(II);
4. Treason against the country and endangering external security (§§ 94 to 100a);
5. Offenses against the defense of the country
(a) in cases under §§ 109 and 109e to 109g and
(b) in cases under §§ 109a, 109d and 109h, if the actor is a German and the foundation of his life lies within the scope of spatial applicability of this law;
6. Abduction and political suspicion (§§ 234a, 241a), if the act is directed against a German domiciled or customarily resident within the country;
6a. Removal of a child in cases under § 235(II)(2), if the act is directed against a person domiciled or customarily resident within the country;
7. Violation of business or trade secrets of a business located within the scope of spatial applicability of this law, of an enterprise located there, or of an enterprise located outside the country that is controlled by an enterprise located within the scope of spatial applicability of this law and forms a concern with that enterprise;
8. Offenses against sexual self-determination
(a) in cases under § 174(I) and (III), if the actor and the person against whom the act is committed are Germans at the time of the act and the foundation of their lives lies within the country, and
(b) in cases under §§ 176 to 176b and 182, if the actor is a German;
9. Termination of pregnancy (§ 218), if the actor is a German at the time of the act and the foundation of his life lies within the scope of spatial applicability of this law;
10. False unsworn statement, perjury and false affirmation in place of an oath (§§ 153 to 156) in a proceeding that is pending, within the scope of spatial applicability of this law, before a court or some other German office charged with the administration of oaths or of affirmations in place of an oath;
11. Offenses against the environment in cases under §§ 324, 326, 330 and 330a, that are committed within the scope of the exclusive German economic zone, insofar as international law treaties for the protection of the high seas permit their prosecution as offenses;
12. Acts committed by a German office holder or person with a special duty of public service during an official stay or in connection with his service;
13. Acts committed by a foreigner acting as an office holder or person with a special duty of public service;
14. Acts committed against an office holder, a person with a special duty of public service or a soldier of the Bundeswehr during the execution of their service or in connection with their service;
15. Trade in organs (§ 18 of the Transplant Law), if the actor is a German at the time of the act.
§6. Acts outside the country against internationally protected law goods.
German penal law furthermore is applicable, independent of the law of the place of the act, to the following acts committed outside of the country:
1. Genocide (§ 220a);
2. Crimes involving atomic energy, explosives and radiation in cases under §§ 307, 308 (I) to (IV), 309(II) and 310;
3. Attacks on air and sea traffic (§ 316c);
4. Traffic in human beings (§ 180b) and aggravated traffic in human beings (§ 181);
5. Unauthorized distribution of narcotics;
6. Dissemination of pornography in cases under § 184(III) & (IV);
7. Forgery of currency and securities (§§ 146, 151 and 152), forgery of guarantee cards and forms for Eurocheques (§ 152a(I) to (IV)), as well as their preparation (§§ 149, 151, 152 and 152a(V));
8. Economic subsidy fraud (§ 264);
9. Acts that are to prosecuted by the terms of an international treaty binding on the Federal Republic of Germany even if they are committed outside the country.
§ 7. Applicability to acts outside the country in other cases.
(I) German penal law is applicable to acts committed outside the country against a German, if the act is threatened with punishment at the place of the act or the place of the act is not subject to any penal power.
(II) German penal law is applicable to other acts committed outside the country, if the act is threatened with punishment at the place of the act or the place of the act is not subject to any penal power and if the actor
1. was a German at the time of the act or became a German after the act, or
2. was a foreigner at the time of the act, was apprehended within the country and, although the Extradition Law would permit extradition according to the type of act, is not extradited because a request for extradition was not made, or was refused, or extradition is not feasible.
§ 8. Time of the act.
An act is committed at the time when the actor or the participant has acted or, in case of an omission, should have acted. It is not significant when the result occurred.
§ 9. Place of the act.
(I) An act is committed at any place where the actor has acted or, in case of an omission, should have acted, or where the result belonging to the act definition occurred or was to occur according to the actor’s belief.
(II) Participation is committed at the place where the act is committed, as well as at any place where the participant has acted or, in case of an omission, should have acted or wheter the act was to be committed according to his belief. If the participant in an act outside the country has acted within the country, then the German penal law is applicable to the participation, even if the act was not threatened with punishment according to the law of the place of the act.
§ 10. Special provisions for juveniles and young adults.
This law is applicable to juveniles and young adults only insofar as the Juvenile Court Law does not provide otherwise.
§ 11. Terms pertaining to persons and things.
(I) In the sense of this law,
1. “relative" is someone who belongs to the following persons:
(a) relations by blood and by marriage in direct line, the spouse, the fiancé, siblings, spouses of siblings, siblings of spouses, even when the marriage that created the relationship no longer exists, or when the relationship by blood or marriage has ceased.
(b) foster parents and foster children;
2. "office holder" is someone who, according to German law,
(a) is a civil servant or judge;
(b) occupies some other office governed by public law;
(c) is otherwise assigned at, or by request of, an agency or similar office to perform tasks of public administration regardless of the organizational form chosen for the performance of these tasks;
3. "judge" is someone who, according to German law, is a professional or honorary judge;
4. "person with a special duty of public service" is someone who, without being a an office
holder, is employed by or active for:
(a) an agency or other office that performs tasks of public administration, or
(b) an association or some other organization, business or enterprise that performs tasks of public administration for an agency or for some other office, and who, on the basis of a law, is formally obligated to perform his duties conscientiously;
5. "unlawful act" is only that act which fulfills the act definition in a penal law;
6. "undertaking of an act" is its attempt and its completion;
7. "agency" is also a court;
8. "measure" is any measure of betterment and security, as well as forfeiture, confiscation, and disablement;
9. "compensation" is any consideration consisting of a pecuniary benefit.
(II) An act is also “intentional” in the sense of this law if it manifests a statutory act definition that presupposes intention with respect to conduct, but lets negligence suffice with respect to the specific result brought about by the conduct.
(III) Audio and video recordings, databases, images and other representations are equivalent to writings in those provisions that refer to this subsection.
§ 12. Felonies and misdemeanors.
(I) Felonies are unlawful acts that are threatened at a minimum with punishment by deprivation of liberty for one year or more.
(II) Misdemeanors are unlawful acts that are threatened at a minimum with a lesser punishment by deprivation of liberty or monetary punishment.
(III) Aggravations and mitigations, which are provided for according to the provisions of the General Part or in especially serious or less serious cases, are irrelevant for this distinction.
§ 13. Commission by omission.
(I) Whoever fails to avert a result belonging to the act definition in a penal law is only punishable under this law if he is legally responsible for the non-occurrence of the result and if the omission is equivalent to the manifestation of the statutory act definition by commission.
(II) The punishment can be mitigated according to § 49(l).
§ 14. Acting for another.
(I) If someone acts
1. as the authorized representative organ of a juridical person or as a member of such an organ,
2. as the authorized representative partner of a commercial partnership or
3. as the legal representative of another,
then a law according to which punishability is based on special personal qualities, relationships or circumstances (special personal characteristics) is to be applied also to the representative if these characteristics are present not in the representative but in the represented.
(II) If someone is
1. commissioned to manage a business in its entirety or in part, or
2. explicitly commissioned to perform on his own responsibility tasks incumbent upon the business’s owner, by the owner of the business or a person otherwise authorized to do so, and he acts on the basis of this commission, then a law according to which punishability is based on special personal characteristics is to be applied also to the commissioned person if these characteristics are present not in him but in the owner of the business. An enterprise is equivalent to a business in the sense of clause 1. If someone acts on the basis of a corresponding commission for an office that performs tasks of public administration, then clause 1 is to be applied accordingly.
(III) Subsections (I) and (II) are also to be applied if the legal act that was to establish the representation authorization or the commission relationship is void.
§ 15. Intentional and negligent conduct.
Only intentional conduct is punishable, unless the statutory law expressly threatens negligent conduct with punishment.
§ 16. Mistake regarding circumstances of the act.
(I) Whoever in committing the act does not know of a circumstance belonging to the statutory act definition does not act intentionally. The punishability for negligent commission remains unaffected.
(II) Whoever in committing the act mistakenly assumes circumstances that would manifest the act definition of a more lenient law, can be punished for intentional commission only according to the more lenient law.
§ 17. Mistake regarding prohibition.
If the actor in committing the act lacks the recognition that he acts unlawfully, then he acts without guilt if this mistake was unavoidable. Could the actor have avoided the mistake, then the punishment can be mitigated according to § 49(I).
§ 18. Heavier punishment for special effects of an act.
If the law ties a heavier punishment to a special effect of the act, then the punishment applies to the actor or the participant only if he was at least negligent with respect to this effect.
§ 19. Guilt incapacity of the child.
Whoever in committing the act is not yet fourteen years old is incapable of guilt.
§ 20. Guilt incapacity because of mental disorder.
Whoever in committing the act is incapable of appreciating the unlawfulness of the act or of acting according to this appreciation because of a pathological mental disorder, because of a serious consciousness disorder or because of feeblemindedness or another serious mental abnormality acts without guilt.
§ 21. Diminished guilt capacity.
If, in committing the act, the actor’s capacity to appreciate the unlawfulness of the act or to act according to this appreciation is substantially diminished for one of the reasons indicated in § 20, then the punishment can be mitigated according to § 49(I).
§ 22. Definition of the term.
Whoever immediately proceeds to the manifestation of the act definition according to his conception of the act attempts to commit an offense.
§ 23. Punishability of the attempt.
(I) The attempt to commit a felony is always punishable, the attempt to commit a misdemeanor only if the statutory law expressly so provides.
(II) The attempt can be punished more leniently than the completed act (§ 49(I)).
(III) If the actor, due to a gross lack of comprehension, failed to realize that the attempt could not possibly lead to completion on account of the nature of the object against which or the means by which the act was to be committed, then the court can dispense with punishment or reduce the punishment in its discretion (§ 49(II)).
§ 24. Withdrawal.
(I) Whoever voluntarily abandons the further execution of the act or prevents its completion shall not be punished for attempt. If he act is not completed without contribution by the person withdrawing from the attempt, then he will be free from punishment if he voluntarily and earnestly seeks to prevent the completion.
(II) If several persons participate in the act, then anyone who voluntarily prevents the completion is not punished for attempt. However, to be free from punishment it suffices that he voluntarily and earnestly seek to prevent the completion of the act if it is not completed without his contribution or independent of his previous contribution to the act.
§ 25. Actorship.
(I) Whoever commits the offense himself or through another is punished as an actor.
(II) If several persons commit the offense jointly, then each is punishment as an actor (joint
§ 26. Instigation.
Whoever intentionally induces another to his intentionally committed unlawful act is punished as an instigator equal to an actor.
§ 27. Aid.
(I) Whoever intentionally aids another in his intentionally committed unlawful act is punished as an aider.
(II) The punishment for the aider is determined by the threatened punishment for the actor. It is to be mitigated according to § 49(I).
§ 28. Special personal characteristics.
(I) If the special personal characteristics (§ 14(I)) giving rise to the actor’s punishability are not present in the participant (instigator or aider), then his punishment is to be mitigated according to § 49(I).
(II) If the statutory law provides that special personal characteristics aggravate, mitigate or preclude punishment, then this is applicable only to the party (actor or participant) who possesses them.
§ 29. Independent punishability of each party.
Each party is punished according to his guilt without regard to the guilt of the other.
§ 30. Attempted participation.
(I) Whoever attempts to induce another to commit or instigate a felony is punished according to the provisions regarding the attempt to commit a felony. However, the punishment is to be reduced according to § 49(I). § 23 (III) is applicable accordingly.
(II) Whoever declares himself ready to, acceded to another’s request to, or makes plans with
another to, commit or instigate a felony is punished in the same manner.
§ 31. Withdrawal from attempted participation.
(I) Whoever voluntarily
1. abandons the attempt to induce another to commit a felony and averts any danger that the other commit the act
2. after having declared himself ready to commit a felony, abandons his plan or,
3. after having planned with another, or having acceded to another’s request, to commit a felony, prevents the act,
is not punished according to § 30.
(II) If the act does not occur without contribution by the person withdrawing from the attempt or if it is committed independent of his previous behavior, then his voluntary and earnest effort to prevent act suffices for him to be free from punishment.
§ 32. Emergency defense.
(I) Whoever commits an act necessitated by an emergency defense acts not unlawfully.
(II) Emergency defense is that defense which is necessary to avert a present unlawful attack upon oneself or another.
§ 33. Exceeding the emergency defense.
If the actor exceeds the bounds of emergency defense due to confusion, fear or fright, then he is not punished.
§ 34. State of emergency as justification.
Whoever commits an act in a present and otherwise unavertable danger to life, body, liberty, honor, property or another law good to avert the danger from himself or another, acts not unlawfully if in weighing the conflicting interests, particularly the affected law goods and the degree of the danger threatening them, the protected interest substantially outweighs the impaired one. However, this is applicable only insofar as the act is an appropriate means to avert the danger.
§ 35. State of emergency as excuse.
(I) Whoever commits an unlawful act in a present and otherwise unavertable danger to life, body or liberty to avert the danger from himself, a relative or another person close to him, acts without guilt. This is not applicable insofar as the actor can be expected to accept the danger, particularly because he himself caused the danger or because he held a special legal relationship; however, the punishment can be mitigated according to § 49(I) if the actor did not have to accept the danger in consideration of a special legal relationship.
(II) If the actor in committing the act mistakenly assumes circumstances that would excuse him according to subsection (I), then he is punished only if he could avoided the mistake. The punishment is to be mitigated according to § 49(I).
§ 36. Parliamentary statements.
Members of the Bundestag, the Federal Convention or of one of the legislative bodies of a Land belonging to the Federal Republic of Germany shall never be held responsible outside their respective legislative bodies for their voting or for any statement which they make in the legislative body or in one of its committees. This provision shall not apply to defamatory insults.
§ 37. Parliamentary reports.
No criminal responsibility attaches to truthful reports about the public sessions of those legislative bodies and committees designated in § 36.