After criticism from judges: tightening of child pornography penalties should be corrected


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After criticism from judges
Increased penalties for child pornography are to be corrected

With the intention of taking tougher action against child pornography, the grand coalition will significantly tighten criminal regulations in 2021. Among other things, it is no longer possible to discontinue proceedings. However, the legislature at the time overlooked the fact that there are definitely minor cases. The traffic light government is planning corrections.

The traffic light coalition is considering correcting the tightened penalties for child pornography and excluding minor cases. Representatives of all three coalition factions spoke out in favor of it in the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” (FAZ). A spokeswoman for the Federal Ministry of Justice told the newspaper that the legislative need for action and possible options for action were being examined. Judges and prosecutors had massively criticized the new regulation.

Two years ago, the then grand coalition decided to classify child pornography as a crime, with a minimum sentence of one year in prison and without the possibility of closing proceedings. Now it is a matter of finding a solution for cases with a lower level of wrongdoing, especially those in which the perpetrators do not knowingly commit themselves to prosecution. This applies, for example, to parents, teachers or students who point out cases of child pornography by forwarding depictions of abuse, or young people who send each other naked photos of themselves.

The parliamentary secretary of the SPD parliamentary group, Johannes Fechner, told the “FAZ” that these cases tie up too much staff that is urgently needed for the prosecution of serious sexual offenses. “Prosecutors need the ability to refrain from prosecuting minor cases.” Green legal politician Canan Bayram explained: “Criminal law must remain the ultima ratio, and the public prosecutor’s offices and courts must have the opportunity to react to the various case constellations in a way that is appropriate to the crime and to blame.” The FDP parliamentary director Stephan Thomae also sees a need for action: “The case law does not come with the last reform to appropriate results.”

The managing director of the German Association of Judges, Sven Rebehn, sees it the same way in the newspaper: “From the point of view of judicial practice, a correction of the penal provisions against child abuse and child pornography, which will be drastically tightened in 2021, is urgently needed.”

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