2. Mai 2021

Federal Supreme Court Decision strenghtens calls for renewed arms export law in Germany

For the first time in German history, an arms producing company was held accountable for its illegal arms trade. Heckler & Koch (H&K) has to pay more than three million euros after the Federal Supreme Court (Bundesgerichtshof; BGH) agreed with the 2019 judgement by the Federal State Court Stuttgart that the entire proceeds from the illegal transaction should be confiscated. The sentence had been imposed after the company’s illegal arms trade to unsafe provinces in Mexico, as was uncovered in 2010 by a whistleblower. The BGH also confirmed the suspended sentences against two former employees. H&K had requested to only pay 200,000 euros and had therefore appealed to the BGH without success.

For the German peace movement, the decision is still a disappointment, as the CEOs were acquitted and only the administrative staff found guilty. The prosecution had sought a stronger sentence. Additionally, the victims of the 2015 shooting of Mexican students with the illegally traded guns were not allowed as joint plaintiffs.

Read the full article by Jennifer Menninger & Victoria Scheyer: