I just read that under US law, the US president may pardon a person even before they have been sentenced, and even before they have been accused (see e.g. Ex Parte Garland, 1866). .
I was curious about the legal situation in Germany. The German Basic Law (Grundgesetz), Article 60 says:
(2) He (the Federal President) shall exercise the power to pardon offenders on behalf of the Federation in individual cases.
However, I could not find any law that specifies what exactly is covered by the "power to pardon".
So my question:
Can a pardon under Article 60 be issued before the offender has been sentenced?
I did find an article by the Legal Service of the Bundestag, which says:
Unter„Begnadigung“ wird eine Maßnahme verstanden, mit der eine rechtskräftige Entschei-dung beseitigt oder gemildert wird.
"Pardon" refers to a measure which removes or mitigates a legally binding decision.
So it seems to be accepted that a pardon is only possible after sentencing - but what is this based on? Is there some special law?