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Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection

Criminal Law (DG II)

Directorate-General II (Criminal Law) deals with the norms in our legal system which proscribe certain acts and make them subject to penalty or a non-criminal fine. What is known as "core criminal law" is laid down in the Criminal Code.

A dictionary, in which the word "Strafrecht" (Criminal Law) is marked. Source: BMJV

This encompasses crimes such as murder, manslaughter, robbery, theft, and insult. But it also covers offences such as criminal attacks on the security of the Federal Republic of Germany (such as high treason or membership of a terrorist organisation) and certain economic crimes. Overall responsibility for all these legal norms – as well as for other legislation that primarily relates to issues of criminal law, such as the Juvenile Court Act, the Regulatory Offences Act, or the Military Criminal Code – lies with the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection. Further criminal offences are contained in special acts. These are referred to as "supplementary criminal law" and may in certain instances fall within the competence of another Ministry. Where this is the case, the competent Divisions within the Directorate-General for Criminal Law work hand in hand with the relevant Ministry that has overall responsibility.

The Directorate-General for Criminal Law also contains Divisions that are responsible for the consequences of criminal law. These consequences may stem from entries in the Federal Central Criminal Register, for example, or from the Act on Compensation for Criminal Prosecution Measures which provides for compensation in cases where a person has suffered damage resulting from a criminal judgement that is subsequently quashed, or from a sentence that is later reduced, or from having been held in remand detention. The sphere of responsibility of Directorate-General II also includes crime prevention and the concrete options for achieving it.

In addition, Directorate-General II has supervisory competence for the Federal Public Prosecutor General of the Federal Court of Justice. By contrast, responsibility for the public prosecution offices of the Länder lies with the individual Länder themselves, as does responsibility for the prison service.

The influence of the European Union on national criminal law is constantly growing. Criminal activity itself is taking on an increasingly international dimension and its prosecution is moving in the same direction. This is why a number of legal instruments have already been developed within the European Union to facilitate the cross-border fight against crime, one example being the European arrest warrant. Representatives of the Directorate-General for Criminal Law are active in negotiating such instruments in Brussels and in preparing the ground in Germany for their implementation at national level.

Individual cases of mutual legal assistance and extradition that fall within the Federation's sphere of responsibility are dealt with by the Federal Office of Justice in Bonn. The Ministry's Directorate-General for Criminal Law has supervisory responsibility for the Federal Office of Justice in the processing of individual cases.