Hamburg application for containers failed: no agreement on impunity

Hamburg application for containers failed: no agreement on impunity

Anna Gallina, Hamburg’s Senator for Justice, wanted to decriminalize containers nationwide. Now it has been brushed off by the other countries.

A woman with orange plastic bags in front of two containers in the evening

So far, containers have been punishable as theft Photo: dpa/Marijan Murat

FREIBURG taz | The federal states could not agree to regularly stop criminal proceedings in minor cases of containerization. There was no unanimity in the responsible state committee. This is also a push by Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann (FDP) and Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir (Greens) failed, which had recommended such a country solution.

Containers are the removal of food from supermarket waste containers. Some activists also speak of “food rescue”. So far, containers have been punishable as theft.

Hamburg’s Green Senator for Justice, Anna Gallina, had already proposed two years ago that public prosecutors should discontinue such criminal proceedings on the basis of insignificance – if, on the one hand, there was no damage to property and no major trespassing and, on the other hand, the consumption of the food “did not cause any health risks”.

This should be anchored nationwide in the “Guidelines for Criminal Proceedings and Fines Proceedings” (RiStBV). according to the Hamburg proposal. The RiStBV is a common administrative regulation of the federal states, which is binding for the public prosecutor’s offices.

Voting result not public

Ministers Buschmann and Özdemir expressly supported the Hamburg initiative in January: “From our point of view, the application offers a solution worth considering at the level of procedural law”. The support had the advantage for them that they did not have to take action themselves.

The RiStBV guidelines are decided by a state committee, the so-called RiStBV committee. This discussed the Hamburg application in mid-February and then gave the states a deadline for written comments by mid-March. The lead state of Hesse has now announced that the necessary unanimity for the amendment to the RiStBV was not achieved. It is not possible to say how many countries voted against the Hamburg application, the committee never makes its voting results public.

Hesse Minister of Justice Roman Poseck (CDU) said: “The ball is now back in the hands of the federal government. This should live up to its responsibility and, as the responsible legislator, ensure uniform application of criminal law.” In fact, only the Bundestag can change the criminal code. Poseck would welcome partial decriminalization: “The question of whether cases of simple ‘container’ are punishable is justified.”

The responsible Federal Minister of Justice, Marco Buschmann (FDP), said he had “taken note” of the failure of the Hamburg application. An initiative to restrict the theft paragraph in the Penal Code is currently not planned. The ministry refers only vaguely to the planned modernization of criminal law, in which, for example, the criminal liability of fare evasion is to be examined.

The failure of the Hamburg proposal is probably not a big one Setback for the food rescue movement. Cases without overcoming walls and fences and without breaking locks are probably the exception. In addition, such cases of simple containers are already being discontinued in most federal states.

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