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Germany: Desecration of EU Symbols Criminalized

(July 6, 2020) On June 24, 2020, an amendment to the German Criminal Code entered into force that makes the desecration of European Union (EU) flags and the EU hymn a crime punishable by imprisonment for up to three years or a fine. In particular, it criminalizes desecrating the EU flag or hymn publicly, in […]

Germany: Berlin Adopts Antidiscrimination Act

(June 30, 2020) On June 21, 2020, a new antidiscrimination act entered into force in the city-state of Berlin, Germany. The act, entitled the State Antidiscrimination Act, prohibits Berlin public authorities, including police and public schools and universities, from engaging in discrimination on the grounds of gender, ethnic origin, racial association, religion or belief, disability, […]

Germany: Corona Warning App Launched

(June 18, 2020) On June 16, 2020, the German government launched the “Corona Warning App,” a voluntary mobile phone application to alert persons who have been in proximity to someone infected with COVID-19. Since its launch, the app has been downloaded by 6.5 million people. As of June 15, 2020, 186,461 people had tested positive […]

Germany: Bavarian Higher Administrative Court Upholds Requirement to Wear Face Masks to Prevent COVID-19 Spread

(May 14, 2020) On May 7, 2020, the Bavarian Higher Administrative Court (Bayerischer Verwaltungsgerichtshof, BayVGH) denied a preliminary injunction against a regulation to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus adopted by the Bavarian State Ministry of Health and Care that, among other things, makes wearing face masks in retail stores, shopping centers, department stores, […]

Germany: First Criminal Trial Worldwide on State Torture in Syria Begins

(Apr. 30, 2020) On April 23, 2020, the first criminal trial worldwide on state torture in Syria started at the Higher Regional Court in Koblenz, Germany (docket no. 1 StE 9/19). The two defendants allegedly worked for the Syrian intelligence services and are charged with crimes against humanity in numerous cases. The trial is scheduled to […]

Germany: Constitutional Court Strikes Down Provision Criminalizing Commercial Assisted Suicide

(Apr. 29, 2020) On February 26, 2020, the German Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht, BVerfG) held that the provision in the German Criminal Code criminalizing commercial assisted suicide is unconstitutional. The Court stated that the general right of personality encompasses a right to a self-determined death, which includes the freedom to take one’s own life as […]

Germany: New Act Allows Stepchild Adoption in Nonmarital Families

(Apr. 29, 2020) On March 31, 2020, an act that allows stepchild adoption in nonmarital families entered into force in Germany. The act implements a decision of the German Federal Constitutional Court of March 26, 2019, which ruled the exclusion of stepchild adoption in nonmarital families unconstitutional. The decision obligated the legislature to enact new […]

Germany: Constitutional Court Denies Preliminary Injunction Against COVID-19 Measures Prohibiting Religious Services

(Apr. 16, 2020) On April 10, 2020, the German Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht, BVerfG) denied a preliminary injunction against a regulation to combat the novel coronavirus adopted by the state government of Hesse (Corona Regulation) that, among other things, prohibits religious gatherings in churches. Preliminary injunctions are granted when they are urgently necessary “to avert […]

Germany: Parliament Changes Rules of Procedure to Ensure Functioning During COVID-19 Pandemic

(Apr. 15, 2020) On April 9, 2020, changes to the Rules of Procedure of the German Bundestag (parliament) that amend the quorum requirements and allow for remote participation in certain cases (Amendment) were published in the Federal Law Gazette. The changes are meant to keep the Bundestag functioning amid the COVID-19 pandemic. They will remain […]

Germany: New Act Makes Measles Vaccinations Mandatory

(Mar. 11, 2020) On March 1, 2020, the Measles Protection Act, which amends several laws, entered into force in Germany. The Act makes measles protection mandatory for children one year or older who attend daycare, school, or other community facilities, and for persons working in those facilities or in medical facilities. Furthermore, measles vaccinations will […]