Svenja Schwartz, LL.M. (UNICRI/University for Peace)

Doctoral Researcher

Main Focus

  • General part of German criminal law
  • Legal theory, esp. criminal law theory
  • International criminal law

Curriculum Vitae

  • Since November 2023: Doctoral scholarship holder of the German Academic Scholarship Foundation
  • Since July 2022: Doctoral Researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Crime, Security and Law, Criminal Law Department, Prof. Dr. Tatjana Hörnle, M.A. (Rutgers), and member of Independent Research Group “Criminal Law Theory”
  • 2021–2022: Master of Laws (LL.M.): Transnational Crime and Justice, University for Peace and United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute
  • 2021: First State Exam (Law)
  • 2018: Exchange Semester, University of St. Gallen
  • 2016–2021: Study of Law, Bucerius Law School


Willful Ignorance

In German law, mistakes of fact have the effect of excluding intent (Sec. 16 I German Criminal Code, StGB). Thus, if a perpetrator was unaware of a relevant factual circumstance – regardless of whether or not the lack of aware­ness was their own fault – intent cannot be established. This can be unsatisfactory from a criminal policy per­spec­tive. In contrast, in the Anglo-American world… more

Blame for Ignorance? Perspectives on Willful Blindness and Mistakes of Fact

Can a person be blamed for turning a blind eye to the circumstances of his or her conduct? From a criminal law perspective, the concept of “willful ignorance” (“willful blindness” or “conscious avoidance”) exists – in varying forms and terms – in different jurisdictions. It usually involves individuals deliberately ignoring or avoiding in­for­mation that should normally have been obvious… more

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