Adopted on 8 December 20161
Published on 28 February 2017
Except where specifically indicated, any developments which occurred after 14 March 2016, the date on
which the response of the German authorities to ECRI’s request for information on measures taken to
implement the recommendations chosen for interim follow-up was received, have not been taken into
account in this analysis.
ECRI Secretariat
Directorate General II - Democracy
Council of Europe
F-67075 STRASBOURG Cedex
Tel.: +33 (0) 390 21 46 62
E-mail: [email protected]
As part of its fifth round of monitoring work, ECRI has renewed its process of interim
follow-up with respect to two specific recommendations made in each of its country
In line with the Information Document on ECRI’s fifth monitoring cycle brought to the
attention of the Ministers’ Deputies on 14 November 20121, not later than two years
following the publication of each report, ECRI addresses a communication to the
Government concerned asking what has been done in respect of the specific
recommendations for which priority follow-up was requested.
At the same time, ECRI gathers relevant information itself. On the basis of this
information and the response from the Government, ECRI draws up its conclusions on
the way in which its recommendations have been followed up.
It should be noted that these conclusions concern only the specific interim
recommendations and do not aim at providing a comprehensive analysis of all
developments in the fight against racism and intolerance in the State concerned.
In its report on Germany (fifth monitoring cycle) published on 25 February 2014,
ECRI reiterated its recommendation to the authorities to ratify Protocol No. 12 to the
European Convention on Human Rights as soon as possible.
The German authorities have informed ECRI that they maintain their position,
summarised in § 1 of the ECRI report, of not wishing to ratify Protocol No. 12 to the
European Convention on Human Rights. ECRI refers to §§ 2 and 3 of that report and
notes that this recommendation has not been implemented.
In its report on Germany (fifth monitoring cycle), ECRI recommended that the
German authorities reform their system for recording and following up ”racist,
xenophobic, homophobic and transphobic” incidents in order to ensure that all cases
involving such a motive are recorded (§ 12 of General Policy Recommendation
No. 11).
ECRI reiterates that the collection of detailed and accurate information on racist,
homophobic and transphobic incidents is a precondition to effectively monitoring how
the criminal justice system as a whole deals with such incidents. It constitutes the
essential basis for the ongoing improvement of criminal prosecutions with regard to
racist, homophobic and transphobic incidents (§§ 68 to 71 of ECRI General Policy
Recommendation (GPR) No. 11 on combating racism and racial discrimination in
ECRI welcomes the fact that the police authorities have taken several measures to
record more fully and follow-up more effectively “racist, homophobic and transphobic”
incidents. For example, within the “Police statistics on politically-motivated criminal
offences” there is now a sub-category on “hate crime”, which includes files on “racism”,
“xenophobia” and “sexual orientation (LGBT)”. In addition, since 2014, attacks on
refugee reception centres have been recorded separately. Since 2016, this has also
been the case for offences against politicians, voluntary workers and journalists
committed in this context. A working party recently suggested that Islamophobic, antiChristian and anti-Roma offences should also be recorded separately.
In this context, ECRI notes with satisfaction that Germany has made major progress in
another area: following a 2015 amendment, Article 46 of the German Criminal Code
now provides that the courts, when determining the sentence, must consider any racist,
xenophobic or other particularly reprehensible motive as an aggravating circumstance.
Subsequently, provisions obliging the authorities to attach particular attention to such
motives were included in the guidelines for criminal proceedings and for police
investigations. These provisions are likely to help ensure more comprehensive
recording of racist, homophobic and transphobic offences.
At the same time, ECRI finds it regrettable that significant shortcomings remain with
regard to the recording of racist, homophobic and transphobic incidents. Since the
publication of ECRI’s last report, these shortcomings have also been highlighted by
several other organisations, in particular the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial
Discrimination (CERD),2 the Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency (ADS)3 and Amnesty
International (AI).4
Like the CERD, ECRI finds it regrettable that the police continue to use incorrect
terminology. As ECRI stated in § 26 of its last report, the title of statistics that contain
hate crimes and offences, “Statistics on politically-motivated criminal offences” is
inappropriate as many racist, homophobic and transphobic offences are not “politically
UN CERD (2015), Concluding observations on the combined 19 to 22
CERD/C/DEU/CO/19-22: § 7.
periodic reports of Germany,
Antidiskriminierungsstelle des Bundes, Kugelmann D. (2015), Möglichkeiten effektiver Strafverfolgung bei
Hasskriminalität – Rechtsgutachten.
Amnesty International 2016, Living in Insecurity – How Germany is Failing Victims of Racist Violence.
motivated”. This is also true of hate crimes and offences which are religiously
motivated and are also included in these statistics. Furthermore, the ground of gender
identity is not covered.5 ECRI reiterates its position that this terminology could be
misleading to police officers when recording and subsequently dealing with offences
with a racist, homophobic or transphobic motive.
In addition, the German police authorities use an excessively restrictive definition of
hate crimes for their statistics. Under the definition used, an act is deemed to have a
political motive only “if it targets a person on account of his or her political views,
nationality, ethnic origin, race, skin colour, religion, philosophical belief, origin […] or
sexual orientation”. In point of fact, the police should, in line with § 14 of GPR No. 11,
adopt a much broader definition and consider a racist, homophobic or transphobic
incident to be “any incident which is perceived to be racist, homophobic or transphobic
by the victim or any other person.”
It is not therefore surprising that there continue to be significant differences between
the statistics on racist violence compiled by civil society and the official statistics.
Whereas, for example, in 2015 the victim support group in Saxony recorded
477 offences involving politically motivated violence in the right-wing political
movement, the authorities in Saxony recorded only 213 acts in the same category.6
Moreover, the judicial authorities have not broken down their statistics in the same way
as the police authorities. For example, the statistics on hate crime do not specify the
number of indictments or judgments; nor is it possible to ascertain how many cases
recorded by the police are transferred to the prosecution service and, ultimately,
classified and tried as racist, homophobic or transphobic offences (§ 12 of
GPR No. 11). Similarly, as yet there are no statistics on the application of the amended
Article 46 of the German Criminal Code.
In conclusion, ECRI finds that this recommendation has been partly implemented.
With regard to the difference between sexual orientation (which relates to Lesbian, gay and bisexual
persons) and gender identity (which relates mainly to transgender persons) see Council of Europe,
Commissioner for Human Rights (2011), Discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender
identity in Europe.
Amnesty International 2016, ibid: 59.