Department of Criminal Law – Projects

Department of Criminal Law


I. Foundations

Naturalism in the Legal Sciences

Interdisciplinary cooperation is becoming more and more important for the legal sciences; nevertheless, legal methodology and doctrine have remained largely resistant to the influence of the empirical sciences. This is due, first, to the defensive attitude most German legal scholars take towards the… more

“Guilt” and its Significance for (German) Criminal Law

Guilt is the focal point of (German) criminal law: it is a prerequisite of pun­ish­ment, is guaranteed by the constitu­tional principle of guilt, and is the epitome of the general systemic decision to adopt a culpability-based criminal law. In the theory of crime, the category of guilt (or… more

Situationism and Criminal Responsibility

Mentally healthy adults unlawfully engaging in conduct that satisfies the def­i­ni­tional elements of a criminal of­fence are, with rare exceptions – e.g., in situa­tions of “excusing necessity” (§ 35 German Criminal Code) or duress (§ 2.09 Model Penal Code) – widely regarded as prototypical… more

Necessity and the State’s Monopoly on the Use of Force

Reason for and Scope of the Primacy of State Procedures in the Context of Section 34 German Criminal Code more

Taking Monetary Punishments Seriously

Although theoretical work on the concept of punishment still fo­cuses almost exclusively on custodial sentences (i.e., impris­on­ment), statistics show that the principal penalty employed by European criminal justice systems – at least in quantitative terms – is the fine. In Germany, for example… more

II. Regulating Intimate Relations

The Criminalization of Femicide: A Comparative Legal Perspective

Killings of women, the most serious form of gender-based violence, is a phenomenon that has existed worldwide since time immemorial. And yet it has only recently become the focus of cultural and legal debate. With that in mind, this international comparative research project focuses on the 21st… more

After the Istanbul Convention: Measures against Domestic and Gender-Based Violence in a Comparative Legal Perspective

The phenomenon of domestic and gender-based violence against women is widespread and affects all social classes and all countries. In 2014, for example, 33% of women in the EU between the ages of 18 and 74 had been victims of physical or sexual assault at some point in their lives. In addition to… more

§§ 174-182 German Criminal Code (Offenses Against Sexual Self-Determination)

In the decade since 2010, the section on sexual offenses in the German Criminal Code has undergone multiple changes. These developments are traced for the most comprehensive commentary to the German Criminal Code, the “Leipziger Kommentar StGB”. The Commentary collects and analyzes policy… more

From Coercion to Consent: Rape Law Reform in Switzerland

Due to the reconceptualization of rape and other sexual offenses as violations of the victim’s sexual autonomy and in view of the obligations arising from international and regional human rights law, more and more European legal systems are revising their understanding of sexual offenses to reflect… more

Should Section 177 German Criminal Code (StGB) be Extended to Criminalize Negligent Sexual Assault?

Should a person be criminally liable for sexual acts that involve circumstances of mistaken consent? This disser­ta­tion discusses whether negligent sexual assault should be criminalized under S. 177 StGB (a position advocated by Hörnle and Jerouschek twenty years ago), and if so, how this could be… more

The Element of Non-Consent in the Offence of Rape: A Focus on Peruvian Law

During the past two decades, many transnational and domestic statutes that regulate the offence of rape have turned away from considering violence or threats as necessary modalities of the offence and have begun treating non-consent as its essential element. This transition can be seen in recent… more

III. Criminal Law in Fragmented Societies

The Criminal Law of Climate Protest

More and more climate activists are opting to break minor laws in order to get maximum exposure for their pro­tests. In fact, a number of climate justice movements—such as Last Generation, Extinction Rebellion, and Ende Gelände—explicitly call for civil disobedience and coercive forms of protest as… more

Criminal Law in Fragmented Societies

Sociologists and cultural sociologists describe increasingly plural, multicultural, and fragmented societies. Migra­tion is one of the factors that contribute to these phenomena. The goal of the project is to describe and evaluate the influence of the aforementioned societal developments on… more

Conflict Regulation in Germany’s Plural Society

Study of So-Called Paralleljustiz in Criminal Law in North Rhine-Westphalia more

The Real Pain of Punishment: Eradicating Social Exclusion from Criminal Justice

The quest for alternative approaches to criminal conduct is one of the most pressing justice issues in the vast majority of crim­i­nal legal systems. There is increasing recognition that the number of people incarcerated reflects a societal failure to respond effectively to the challenges faced by… more

IV. Other Projects

Right-Wing Extremism and Criminal Law – So-Called National Socialist Underground

Right-wing extremism is an acute threat to democratic civil society and must be taken seriously. The need for both preventive and repressive socio-political responses that comply with the rule of law is urgent. Criminal law, too, has an important role to play in this context. Using the trial of the… more

NetzDG and Human Rights

The past five years have posed new challenges for Europe and the entire world: A rapid spread of digital violence and online “hate speech”, including image-based harassment, fake news, disinformation, propaganda, racism and xenophobia have become a steadily growing social problem fueled by migration… more

Secret Evidence in Criminal Proceedings

In addition to politically motivated violence and hostile states, legal orders in Europe today are increasingly con­fronted with profit-driven organised crime that is integrated into globally-operating criminal networks and at the same time entrenched in European societies. In view of the… more

Public-Private Partnerships in the Fight against the Financing of Terrorism

Confronted with transnational terrorism and other forms of organised crime that elude the territorial borders of nation states, law enforcement authorities in many countries are increasingly turning to the private sector to tackle illicit financial flows. While banks and other financial institutions… more

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