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Is there a legal definition of racist-hate crime?

Key Area:
Anti-racist Crime Legislation & Implementation
20/12/2011 - 14:06
Short Answer


Qualitative Info

The penal code does not contain explicit provisions on hate crime (except for hate speech, art. 130 StGB) and, hence, no definition of hate crime is provided in the law. However, the police use the category of hate crime when initially registering an offence as a sub-category of politically motivated crimes (Criminal police reporting system, KPMD-PMK). As a consequence, hate crimes can only be recorded as such when a political motivation is assumed by the police; thus every-day racism does generally not fall within this category and remains undocumented. According to the official definition, politically motivated criminal acts are recorded as hate crimes ‘if taking into consideration the circumstances of the act and the attitude of the perpetrator(s), indicators occur which imply that the crime was directed against a person because of his/her political attitude, nationality, ethnicity, race, skin colour, religion, belief, origin, sexual orientation, disability, outward appearance or social status’; an act is also classified as hate crime if it is directed – in a similar motivational context – against ‘an institution or an object’ (Federal Parliament). As the KPMD-PMK statistics also differentiate between extreme right-wing and extreme left-wing crimes as well as politically motivated crimes committed by foreigners, hate crimes are (at least internally) classified according to these categories. The vast majority of hate crimes is recorded under politically motivated right-wing offences.


German Federal Parliament (Deutscher Bundestag), Ausländerfeindliche und rechtsextremistische Straftaten in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland im September 2009, printed matter 17/46, 20.11.2009.

Groups affected/interested Migrants, Refugees, Roma & Travelers, Ethnic minorities, Linguistic minorities, Asylum seekers
Type (R/D)
Key socio-economic / Institutional Areas Anti-discrimination, Anti-racism
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