After a criminal complaint against the President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas, the Berlin public prosecutor's office has to decide whether he is protected from investigations by the status of diplomatic immunity.

During a visit to Berlin, Abbas accused Israel of having committed “50 holocausts” against the Palestinians.

Johannes Leithauser

Political correspondent in Berlin.

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According to the state police of the State Criminal Police Office in Berlin, a criminal complaint was received because of "relativization of the Shoah" in connection with Abbas' statements last Tuesday.

"The preliminary investigation into the initial suspicion of incitement to hatred under Section 130 of the Criminal Code is being processed in a specialist department of the State Criminal Police Office and will be sent promptly to the Berlin public prosecutor's office for information and further decision," it said.

On the one hand, the public prosecutor's office must then examine whether criminal prosecution against the president of the Palestinian Authority is possible at all, or whether it is denied for reasons of immunity.

If she came to the conclusion that Abbas could be prosecuted in Germany, she would then have to examine the substance of the criminal allegations.

Legal regulation of immunity

The criminal immunity of foreign representatives in Germany is regulated in Section 20 of the Court Procedure Act.

It states: "German jurisdiction also does not extend to representatives of other states and their escorts who are in the area of ​​application of this law at the official invitation of the Federal Republic of Germany."

In the opinion of the Federal Foreign Office, this definition applies to Abbas, even if Germany, like many other countries, does not recognize the statehood of the Palestinian territories.

Nevertheless, the Palestinian Authority is seen as a separate entity, which also has its own representative offices in Germany and other countries.

In any case, it is undisputed that Abbas was in Berlin on an “official invitation”.

After an official meeting with Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), Abbas on Tuesday described Israel's actions against the Palestinians as a holocaust: "Since 1947 to the present day, Israel has committed 50 massacres in 50 Palestinian villages and towns, 50 massacres, 50 holocausts". said Abbas.