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Criminal offenses under the age of 14: This is how other countries deal with very young offenders

2023-03-23T17:35:07.599Z


The two alleged perpetrators in the Luise case are not guilty due to their age. This is different in other European countries.


The two alleged perpetrators in the Luise case are not guilty due to their age.

This is different in other European countries.

Munich – After the murder of twelve-year-old Luise from Freudenberg, the two alleged perpetrators (12 and 13 years old) will no longer be prosecuted.

This is because both are under the age of 14 and therefore not guilty under German law.

If you look at most other European countries, young people of this age are not yet prosecuted there either.

As can be seen from a list by the scientific service of the Bundestag from 2019, in many EU countries the age of criminal responsibility begins at the age of 14 at the earliest.

These include countries such as Sweden, Finland and Denmark (15 years) or Croatia, Italy and Spain (14).

In Austria, too, young people under the age of 14 are not capable of committing a crime and cannot be convicted.

You may be threatened with educational measures.

But in other countries the age of criminal responsibility is higher, in some it is lower.

European Criminal Law: In some countries you can be imprisoned under the age of 14

In Portugal, criminal responsibility begins at the age of 16.

In Poland, you are criminally responsible from the age of 17, but 15-year-olds can also be punished for selected crimes such as murder or kidnapping.

In France, children under the age of 13 are considered incapable of judgement.

Even if this assessment can be overturned in individual cases, a juvenile court judge can impose a maximum of educational measures.

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In the Luise case, the alleged perpetrators are not guilty.

(icon picture)

©Oliver Berg/dpa

In other countries, the age limit is significantly lower.

For the Dutch it is 12 years.

Hungary also changed the age of criminal responsibility from 14 to 12 in 2013.

In Ireland, the age limit is twelve, with an exception for children between the ages of ten and eleven for serious crimes.

In Switzerland, too, children are criminally responsible from their 10th birthday.

Juvenile criminal law applies to them, which also provides for penalties for older offenders, but above all provides for protective measures.

Young people can only be sentenced to imprisonment from the age of 16.

In the UK, children can be sentenced to years in prison.

Criminal responsibility begins at 10 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and at 12 in Scotland.

Therefore, the age limit in Germany is 14 years

In Germany, the legislature decided based on evidence to set the limit at 14, said Tobias Singelnstein, professor of criminology and criminal law at the Goethe University in Frankfurt.

According to everything that is known from other sciences such as sociology or educational sciences about growing up and the development of children, people up to that age are usually not capable of insight and control and are therefore not responsible.

(kiba/dpa)

List of rubrics: © Oliver Berg/dpa

Source: merkur

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