Thu, May. 17, 2007

New Sentencing Guidelines

LL - Washington.  The German Department of Justice plans to expand benefits for cooperating witnesses. The Berlin cabinet approved new sentencing guidelines, the department announced on May 27, 2007.

Currently, German courts may reward principal witnesses with reduced penalties for their cooperation only if their testimony advances a conviction from among a set of exclusively defined offenses or if testimony prevents the offense from occurring.

Beneficiary witnesses are required to be involved in an offense of the same category as the one to which their testimony relates. The proposed rules would constitute a significant change. Courts would be able to grant privileges in return for testimony relating to offenses the defendant is not accused of having committed.

In general, the new provisions would apply to a much wider range of offenses including white collar crime that has largely been excluded from that approach. The Berlin Attorney General expressed her hope the Kronzeugenregelung would create a more effective tool for enforcement agencies that will prevent crime and boost investigations.

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