Federal Court of Justice (BGH), Judgment as of 7/29/2010
File number 4 StR 190/10

Key issues

Criminal proceedings regarding human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation; judgment for an acquittal must meet certain requirements; overturning a judgment.


The female accused was convicted by the court of first instance of serious human trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation and sentenced to imprisonment for two years, the enforcement of which was suspended and the accused put on probation, and was acquitted of seven other criminal charges. The public prosecutor’s appeal against one of the acquittals was successful.

The accused had been charged with recruiting, together with her son, the witness M. in Romania under false pretences and with bringing her to Germany for the purposes of putting her into prostitution. It never came to such prostitution because the accused was arrested beforehand. The public prosecutor had therefore charged her with attempted serious human trafficking. The court of first instance acquitted the accused in this case because it was of the opinion that, due to the absence of any relevant testimony by witnesses, there was no proof that she had committed the crime. The accused herself did not testify on that point, and the witness M. could not be questioned because her place of residence was unknown.

The reasons set out in the judgment of the court of first instance had failed, in the opinion of the BGH, to satisfy the requirements of section 267 (5) of the German Code of Criminal Procedure (StPO), which in the case of an acquittal demands that the facts that were proved be presented and a verifiable assessment of the evidence be made. The BGH held that this had not been done in the judgment of the court of first instance and therefore quashed the acquittal. The case was remitted for a retrial to the court of first instance.

Decision in full text:

BGH_29_07_2010 (PDF, 79 KB, not barrier-free, in German)

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