Concepts of Intention in German Criminal Law
Posted: 29 Feb 2008
In German criminal law, intention is the label used not only for cases of knowledge and desire; it also includes cases of what the common law would call recklessness. German criminal law calls its approximation of recklessness dolus eventualis. It is on that concept that the article concentrates. After a brief review of the historical development of the German concept of intention, the author shows that dolus eventualis consists of two components: the cognitive element, which (as in the common law) considers the state of the accused's knowledge that the offence may occur, and a volitional or dispositional element which is unknown to the common law. The author concludes that the volitional or dispositional element is not plausible, and that in any harmonization of concepts of intention in the criminal law of the European countries such an element should not be adopted.
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