Al Jazeera has covered a legal action initiated in Germany, where attorneys have filed a lawsuit against Chancellor Scholz, accusing him of being complicit in what they term the 'genocide' in Gaza: German lawyers sue Scholz, alleging complicity in Gaza ‘genocide’

On what grounds is this lawsuit predicated? Furthermore, how do the lawyers involved and their clients justify their legal standing in this case? Is there a provision for a private right of action in such matters within German law?

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    – Pat W.
    Feb 24 at 12:25
  • found the wesbite of the org supporting the lawsuit: elsc.support/news/…
    – Ona
    Feb 25 at 20:55
  • 1
    @Ona, not a lawsuit. This is only slightly more formal than John Doe calling 911 to complain that Jane Doe is a murderer.
    – o.m.
    Feb 26 at 5:44

1 Answer 1


A publicity stunt, unlikely to have legal consequences.

  • Germany claims universal jurisdiction for cases of genocide. According to the Völkerstrafgesetzbuch §1, this law applies to cases of §6 (genocide) even if the case was committed abroad and has no connection to Germany. For §13 (wars of aggression), it applies whenever the (alleged) perpetrator is a German citizen. So Germany could prosecute any perpetrator of genocide whom they can catch.
  • As I understand it, the lawyers did not initiate a lawsuit, they filed a criminal complaint with the authorities accusing the Chancellor of that crime. The prosecution authorities will have to react to this -- almost certainly by concluding that there is no Anfangsverdacht (reasonable suspicion) to justify further steps.

In Germany, most criminal cases are filed by the prosecution. That happens when the prosecutors conclude, in their professional judgement, that a crime has happened and that a conviction by the court seems likely. There are a limited number of crimes where a victim can bypass the prosecution and go directly to the court, but genocide is not among them.

A victim can file a legal complaint if the victim believes that the decision of the prosecution has been wrong (Klageerzwingungsverfahren).

  • Do they even have standing as victims for the "Klageerzwingungsverfahren)"?
    – Ona
    Feb 25 at 12:32
  • @Ona, that case would set precedents if they go so far. But right now, the publicity stunt is limited to the first step, the criminal complaint.
    – o.m.
    Feb 25 at 12:48
  • Sorry to bother you even more, but is the actual text of the complaint public?
    – Ona
    Feb 25 at 13:09
  • @Ona Since the original article didn't name the lawyers or the place they are making the charges, it may be difficult to get any further information. Presently the Tagesschau (or the BBC) hasn't even meantioned the Al Jazeera article or anything about the claim it makes. Feb 25 at 13:38
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    In the 2000s, similar complaints were filed based on the Abu Ghraib scandal against US President George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, and others in Belgium, which has a similar law. It caused some minor diplomatic kerfuffle, but in the end, nothing came of it. Turkish President Erdogan filed a criminal complaint against a German satirist, based on an outdated crime of "Majestätsbeleidigung" (Insulting a Foreign Dignitary), but it had the opposite result of what Erdogan hoped: the government quickly realized the stupidity of this outdated article and removed it. Feb 25 at 17:38

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