Austria / Supreme Court / 15Os25/17s
Austria / Supreme Court / 15Os25/17s ECLI:AT:OGH0002:2017:0150OS00025.17S.0405.000View full Case
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Crime type(s) concerned/related
Incitement to violence or hatred
Related hate bias motivation
Refugees & Asylum seekers
National Higher Court
Supreme Court (Oberster Gerichtshof)
Key facts of the case
The case concerns online incitement to hatred and violence. More concretely, the defendant (J.H.) was indicted for posting an image on Facebook showing two snipers lying in a trench with machine guns, with the caption "The fastest asylum procedure in Germany ... rejects up to 1,400 requests per minute".
The Supreme Court found that asylum seekers are covered by § 283 StGB. Through the amending law concerning the Criminal Code, it should be explicitly determined that a protected group can be defined both positively and negatively by inserting the word sequence "existing or missing".
Is the case related to the application of the Framework Decision on Racism and Xenophobia, the Racial Equality Directive?
Key issues (concepts, interpretations) clarified by the case
One of the key issues was about whether the defendant's despicable statement (i.e. posting on his Facebook page a picture of two snipers lying in a trench with machine guns, including the imprint "The fastest asylum procedure in Germany ... rejects up to 1,400 requests per minute") constitutes incitement to violence or hatred in terms. Concretely, the issue is about whether 'asylum seekers' as such are covered by § 283 StGB.
Results (sanctions, outcome) and key consequences or implications of the case
The Supreme Court ruled that the judgement of the Higher Regional Court Graz misapplied the law. The misapplication of the law, which was opposed by the Prosecuter's General Office (Genrealprokuratur), was thus to be determined.
Key quotation in original language and translated into English with reference details
Mit dem StRÄG 2015 sollte durch Einfügung der Wortfolge „vorhandenen oder fehlenden“ (Kriterien) in Abs 1 Z 1 ausdrücklich festgelegt werden, dass eine geschützte Gruppe sowohl positiv als auch negativ definiert werden kann [...] Somit erfüllt das Hetzen gegen die Gruppe der „Ausländer“ im Allgemeinen den aktuellen Tatbestand, weil auch das Fehlen eines der in § 283 Abs 1 Z 1 StGB genannten Kriterien (etwa einer bestimmten Staatsangehörigkeit) zur Definition einer geschützten Gruppe reicht.
Through the amending law concerning the Criminal Code (StRÄG 2015), it should be explicitly determined that a protected group can be defined both positively and negatively by inserting the word sequence "existing or missing" (criteria) in para 1 Z1. [...] Thus, incitement against the group of "foreigners" generally falls within the scope of the offence, since the absence of one of the criteria (e.g. a certain nationality) as defined in § 283 para 1 StGB is sufficient fto define a protected group.
DISCLAIMERThe information presented here is collected under contract by the FRA's research network FRANET. The information and views contained do not necessarily reflect the views or the official position of the FRA.