About | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline

6 J. Int'l Crim. Just. 927 (2008)
Societas Delinquere Non Potest

handle is hein.journals/jicj6 and id is 937 raw text is: Societas delinquere
non potest ?
A German Perspective
Thomas Weigend*
The concept of corporate criminal responsibility has long been accepted in common
law jurisdictions and has more recently spread to several other national criminal
law systems. Germany is one of a few hold-outs limiting criminal responsibility to
natural persons, although financial sanctions can be imposed on a corporation when
one of its officers has acted criminally on behalf of the corporation. Corporate
criminal responsibility can be based on transferring the corporate officer's responsi-
bility to the corporation, or alternatively, on finding fault with the legal person's
internal organization. Neither approach is completely convincing in theoretical
terms. More importantly, introducing full corporate criminal responsibility requires
a re-definition of what constitutes a criminal act as well as the concept of criminal
culpability. The author cautions against taking this step too quickly because it might
well change the specific nature of criminal law.
1. Corporate Criminal Responsibility: An Idea
whose Time Has Come?
Crimes are committed by men, not by nations, and therefore men must be
made responsible for their crimes even under international law. This has been
the lesson of Nuremberg.1 Yet, more than 60 years later, it seems that there is
a shift back from individual to collective responsibility. It is not (only) men that
commit crimes but corporations. It is not a single individual who sells poison
* Professor of Criminal Law, University of Cologne (Germany). The author wishes to thank
Dr. Kathrin Hofmann for her research support. [Thomas.Weigend@uni-koeln.de]
1 In the famous words of the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal (IMT): 'Crimes against
international law are committed by men, not by abstract entities, and only by punishing
individuals who commit such crimes can the provisions of international law be enforced:
Judgment of the International Military Tribunal for the Trial of German Major War Criminals
against Goring and others, 1946, 42.
Journal of International Criminal Justice 6 (2008), 927-945  doi:1O.1093/jicj/mqnO69
© Oxford University Press, 2008, All rights reserved. For permissions. please emafl: journals.permissions@oxfordiournals.org

What Is HeinOnline?

HeinOnline is a subscription-based resource containing thousands of academic and legal journals from inception; complete coverage of government documents such as U.S. Statutes at Large, U.S. Code, Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, U.S. Reports, and much more. Documents are image-based, fully searchable PDFs with the authority of print combined with the accessibility of a user-friendly and powerful database. For more information, request a quote or trial for your organization below.

Short-term subscription options include 24 hours, 48 hours, or 1 week to HeinOnline.

Contact us for annual subscription options:

Already a HeinOnline Subscriber?

profiles profiles most