GERMANY - Abolitionist
Government: federal republic
State of civil and political rights: Free
Constitution: 23 May 1949, adopted by a united Germany on 3 October 1990
Legal System: civil law system with indigenous concepts; judicial review of legislative acts in the Federal Constitutional Court;
Legislative System: bicameral Parliament consists of the Federal Assembly (Bundestag) and Federal Council (Bundesrat)
Judicial System: Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) half the judges are elected by the Bundestag and half by the Bundesrat
Religion: Protestant 34%, Roman Catholic 34%, Muslim 3.7%, unaffiliated or other 28.3%
International Treaties on the Death Penalty and Human Rights:
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
- 1st Optional Protocol to the Covenant
- Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (aiming to the abolition of the death penalty)
- Convention on the Rights of the Child
- Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
- European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
- 6th Protocol to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (concerning the abolition of the death penalty)
- European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
- Protocol No. 13 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, concerning the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances
- Statute of the International Criminal Court (which excludes the death penalty)
The Federal Republic of Germany abolished the death penalty in 1949. The Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany at Art. 102 states: "The death penalty is abolished." The German Democratic Republic abolished the death penalty for all crimes in 1987. Germany was re-unified in 1990.
Like its European Union partners, Germany refuses to send prisoners to countries where they could face the death penalty. This stance has caused some friction with the United States over collaboration in terrorism cases. In September 2002 Germany refused to hand over evidence that could lead to a death sentence for the alleged 20th hijacker accused of the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington. German Justice Minister Herta Daeubler-Gmelin said Germany would only cooperate in the case against Zacarias Moussaoui, if America guaranteed the documents would not be used for obtaining the death penalty.
In 1999 Germany filed a case with the International Court of Justice against the United States for violating the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963 by not informing its consular officials of the arrest and murder convictions of two German-born brothers. Walter and Karl LaGrand were executed in 1999 for the murder of a bank manager in a bungled 1982 robbery. On June 27, 2001, in its first ruling of the kind, the World Court faulted the United States for violating the LaGrands’ rights. The United States did not deny that it had breached the Vienna Convention. It vowed to improve compliance and apologised over the LaGrand case.
On October 11, 2004, Germany ratified Protocol No 13 to the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms banning the death penalty in all circumstances. It entered into force on February 1, 2005.
On December 19, 2016, as in previous years, Germany co-sponsored and voted in favour of the Resolution on a Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty at the UN General Assembly.