According to the German ZEIT ONLINE article Bundesregierung prüft Strafbegehren der Türkei, Turkey requested that Germany prosecutes the German citizen Jan Böhmermann over a poem, and now German politicians in the Bundesregierung intend to decide if Böhmermann should be prosecuted.

I don't get it. I thought Germany has a separaton of powers?

  • "Over a poem" - that is very strongly misleading.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 8:33
  • 1
    @gnasher729: But it’s accurate, isn’t it? (I added it; in line with the title of The Guardian article Turkey asks Germany to prosecute comedian over Erdoğan poem.) As far as I understand it, this question is not about this specific case, but about why the Bundesregierung can (with separation of powers in mind) have a say in this and similar cases. -- But if you think this needs clarification, feel free to edit it :)
    – unor
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 15:26

1 Answer 1


The Bundesregierung is (like the police, the prosecuting authority, etc.) part of Germany’s executive.

StGB § 104a defines under which conditions offences described in chapter 3 Straftaten gegen ausländische Staaten (transl. Offences against foreign states), which consists of § 102, § 103 and § 104, can be prosecuted.

One of the conditions is

[…] und die Bundesregierung die Ermächtigung zur Strafverfolgung erteilt

= the Bundesregierung must authorise the prosecution.

  • 1
    Just an explanation why this makes sense: The guy is apparently not prosecuted for a poem, but for speech insulting a foreign head of state. That's a very special case. It's about relationships between countries. If a German citizen insults say any random American citizen, that's between the two of them. If you insult the US president, it's a matter between the countries, not a private matter anymore. So if the US president complained, it would be the German government deciding whether the case should be heard. It's about the relationship of the countries, so no business for a judge alone.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 8:31
  • @gnasher729 I agree, but still a somewhat draconian law, IMO. (Not that "MO" matters anyway, but just saying.)
    – Fiksdal
    Commented Sep 16, 2016 at 9:17

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