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Attorney General’s Office: No sedition case against Abbas

Attorney General’s Office: No sedition case against Abbas

A press conference by Palestinian President Abbas and Chancellor Scholz caused outrage in 2022. Scholz was criticized because he did not immediately respond to the relativization of the Holocaust.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Holocaust accusation against Israel at a joint press conference with Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) initially has no criminal consequences. The Berlin Public Prosecutor’s Office announced on Monday that no investigation would be initiated. According to the authorities, Abbas had committed the crime of sedition, it was said. However, he enjoys immunity, so there is an obstacle to the process.

With this assessment, the public prosecutor’s office said it confirmed a decision by the Berlin public prosecutor’s office. Unlike the lower authority, the public prosecutor’s office sees the criminal offense of sedition as having been implemented. An authority spokesman said Abbas’s statements represented a comparison that trivialized the Holocaust and were likely to disrupt public peace.

Abbas visited Germany in August 2022 at the invitation of the federal government. At the joint press conference with Scholz in the Chancellery, he accused Israel of carrying out multiple “holocausts” against the Palestinians, thereby triggering outrage. “Israel has committed 50 massacres in 50 Palestinian locations since 1947 to this day,” Abbas said, adding: “50 massacres, 50 Holocausts.”

Scholz: “Outrageous derailment”

Scholz later described the statements as an “outrageous derailment.” The Chancellor himself came under criticism because he did not respond at the press conference. The SPD politician followed the statements visibly angrily with a stone-faced expression and also made preparations to react. His spokesman Steffen Hebestreit declared the press conference over immediately after Abbas’ answer.

According to authorities, two criminal complaints were filed with the Berlin police and the public prosecutor’s office because of Abbas’s statements. The public prosecutor was responsible for this. They discontinued the proceedings without starting an investigation because they did not consider the crime of incitement to have been realised, it was said.

The complainants lodged a complaint against this. According to the public prosecutor’s office, these were at least successful in classifying the statements under criminal law. “The comparison made by Abbas obviously lacks an objective factual basis, because the situation of the Palestinian population since the founding of the State of Israel is not even remotely comparable to the situation of the Jewish population of Europe under the rule of the National Socialists and trivializes both the quantity and the quality of it atrocities committed at that time,” the authority said.

Immunity under international law

However, according to the public prosecutor’s office, the prerequisites for immunity are met for Abbas – even though the Federal Republic of Germany has not yet recognized the Palestinian autonomous areas as a state. From the authority’s point of view, the provisions of the Court Constitution Act must nevertheless be applied.

After the incident in August 2022, a spokesman for the Foreign Office had already expressed the assessment that Abbas was immune under international law because he acted in his function as a representative of the Palestinian Authority.

However, there are different opinions on this among lawyers. According to the public prosecutor’s office, the two complainants can have their previous assessment reviewed by the Berlin Court of Appeal through a so-called enforcement procedure.

Source: Stern

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