Go film the police: How the police want to define the „de facto public“

Interview with Maren Burkhardt

The German Campaign for Victims of Racist Police Violence (Kampagne für Opfer rassistischer Polizeigewalt, KOP) calls for documenting police actions with video footage. Initially, the police defended themselves against this with the Art Copyright Act, now the police often describes its spoken word as „non-public“. I spoke about this with Maren Burkhardt, who represented and supported the campaign as a lawyer.

For years, police authorities have tried to hinder the filming of operations. The prohibitions imposed in this context have gained a new variant in the form of § 201 of the Criminal Code (StGB). The section protects the confidentiality of the spoken word. Would it be permissible to film police operations, but not to record them with a microphone?

§ Section 201 of the Criminal Code serves to protect the right to preserve the impartiality of the non-publicly spoken word. Accordingly, the provision only refers to the oral voice. The wording of the provision is therefore clearly not directed at the visual recording of persons. Filming without sound is therefore not punishable under section 201 of the Criminal Code. „Go film the police: How the police want to define the „de facto public““ weiterlesen

Digital justice: German state of Baden-Württemberg launches „electronic criminal file“

From 2026, electronic legal transactions should be possible completely without paper, but this could cause problems for defendants in custody.

Criminal investigations sometimes involve various police and judicial authorities, and the resulting files can contain stacks of paper several metres thick. Many documents exist in digital form and are still printed out for the files. The German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg is now the first to introduce an „electronic criminal record“. It is intended to facilitate the exchange between the authorities involved, as Baden-Wuerttemberg’s Minister of Justice Marion Gentges (CDU) announced at the presentation of the project called „eStrafakte“ in Ulm on Tuesday. According to a projection, 50,000 sheets of paper arrive in the post office of the police headquarters there alone every day. „Digital justice: German state of Baden-Württemberg launches „electronic criminal file““ weiterlesen

Corona and the situation of refugees in Germany

Restrictions on movement and contact, border closures, travel bans – the Covid 19 pandemic also means considerable limitations on civil liberties and fundamental rights in Germany. Many measures, however, particularly affect refugees.

On 16 March the European Union closed its external borders. Although the application for asylum was supposed to be one of the exceptions to entry permits, de facto the official border crossings for asylum seekers remained largely insurmountable. The EU is also stepping up the surveillance at „green“ and „blue“ borders. The border agency Frontex has suspended some of its operations, for example in the Western Balkans, because of the Corona crisis. But on the other hand, Frontex has extended its missions in Greece, which has seen a high number of arrivals of refugees due to tensions with Turkey, by two „Rapid Border Interventions“ at the Evros border river and in the Aegean Sea. At the beginning of April, the governments involved also suspended the „Malta deal“ for sea rescue in the central Mediterranean. Rescued persons are no longer being redistributed to the states willing to receive them; this affects a total of 731 refugees, most of whom were supposed to come to Germany. Malta and Italy completely closed their ports to private rescue vessels a little later, only with much public pressure could 150 rescued persons from the German ship „Alan Kurdi“ disembark in Malta in mid-April, most of the others were brought back by the Libyan coast guard – even from waters for which Malta is responsible. „Corona and the situation of refugees in Germany“ weiterlesen

Justice scandal in Iceland was led by German commissioner

In 1977, six Icelandic nationals were sentenced to heavy prison sentences in two homicide cases without corpses. The highest court acquitted the partially deceased 41 years later and fully rehabilitated them. Now the involvement of the German Federal Criminal Police Office comes into focus.

The mysterious disappearance of Guðmundur Einarsson and Geirfinnur Einarsson 45 years ago still occupies the Icelandic public today. According to the findings, both did not know each other, their cases were only linked in the course of the investigation. According to the Icelandic police, the men were beaten to death and buried with an interval of eleven months. However, their bodies were never found.

The main suspect was 20 year old Saevar Ciesielski, later his partner of the same age Erla Bolladottir and four other Icelanders were targeted by the investigators. The then government had a great interest in an early closure, especially of the Geirfinnur case, because the police investigations revealed the involvement of the then Minister of Justice, Ólafur Jóhannesson, in organised crime networks. Iceland was therefore in a government crisis; if the Social Democratic Party had won the elections, the country’s NATO membership would have been at stake. „Justice scandal in Iceland was led by German commissioner“ weiterlesen