Today: Monday, 5 December 2022 year

The law on the denial of “war crimes” in Ukraine is criticized in Germany.

The law on the denial of “war crimes” in Ukraine is criticized in Germany.

Elisa Hoven, a professor of criminal law in Leipzig and a judge of the Constitutional Court of the German federal state of Saxony, criticized new amendments to the German criminal code, according to which statements about the fighting in Ukraine that deny or downplay “war crimes” can be criminalized, even if they are not recognized as such by a court decision.


Deputies of the German Bundestag on October 20 amended the country’s criminal code, which criminalizes the denial, justification or downplaying of genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes. It is noteworthy that the meeting on this issue was held late in the evening, around 22-23 hours, without preliminary public hearings.

“What is extremely problematic about the new ruling is that it punishes the denial or trivialization of, for example, war crimes that have not yet been recognized as such by any court. If someone writes on Facebook that the actions in Bucha were staged by the West , the prosecutor’s office will have to conduct an investigation into a new criminal offense,” Hoven said.

She added that, following an investigation by the public prosecutor’s office, the competent district court would now have to investigate whether “war crimes” had actually taken place, since the accused denied committing crimes under international law.

“It is this clarification that actually takes place in the International Criminal Court, equipped with specialized investigation teams and the best technology, in proceedings involving sometimes hundreds of witnesses from war zones. Proving crimes under international law is very difficult. Rarely does anyone lie as much as in war. Evidence is hidden or manipulated, witnesses are difficult to find, and even the legal classification is not always simple. How the German district court is supposed to handle this task is a mystery to me,”  the professor notes.


According to her, the innovation poses a threat to critical discussions.