The Völkerstrafgesetzbuch or VStGB ("international criminal code") is the German law that regulates the crimes against public international law. It was created to bring the German criminal law into accordance with the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. It was announced on 26 June 2002 and became law 30 June 2002. It covers the following offenses:
None of these are subject to a statute of limitations.
According to § 1, genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes are subject to universal jurisdiction, thus German courts can punish offenses committed by foreign citizens abroad. However, the prosecution of crimes committed outside German jurisdiction is limited by § 153(f) of the German Criminal Procedural Code, which gives the Federal Prosecutor a wide discretion of when to open a case via universal jurisdiction, if the offender is not of German nationality. So far the Federal Prosecutor's office has suspended persecator measures for 128 cases brought to its attention involving international crimes pursuant to the German International Criminal Code.
In May 2011, the trial of two Rwandan citizens, Ignace Murwanashyaka and Straton Musoni, began before the Oberlandesgericht in Stuttgart, Germany. This is the first trial under the Völkerstrafgesetzbuch in Germany.
- "Rwanda: Ignace Murwanashyaka and Straton Musoni tried". BBC. 4 May 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-05.
- "Oberlandesgericht Stuttgart (5. Strafsenat) eröffnet Hauptverfahren gegen zwei mutmaßliche Führungsfunktionäre der "Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda" (FDLR )". Oberlandesgericht Stuttgart (in German). 4 March 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-05.
- Full text of the law (in German)
- Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court