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Old 15th Feb 2006, 19:14   #2 (permalink)
Avrel
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Earth
Posts: 18
Better than I said it above with the help of my dictionary. The press release from the court's website.

Original source: http://www.bundesverfassungsgericht....entscheidungen



"Bundesverfassungsgericht - Pressestelle -

Press release no. 11/2006 of 15. February 2006

Zum Judgment of 15. February 2006 – 1 BvR 357/05 –

Authorisation to shoot down aircraft in the Aviation Security Act void

§ 14.3 of the Aviation Security Act (Luftsicherheitsgesetz – LuftSiG),
which authorises the armed forces to shoot down aircraft that are
intended to be used as weapons in crimes against human lives, is
incompatible with the Basic Law and hence void. This was decided by the
First Senate of the Federal Constitutional Court in its judgment of 15
February 2006. The Federal Constitutional Court held that the Federation
lacks legislative competence to issue such regulation in the first
place. According to the Court, Article 35.2 sentence 2 and 35.3 sentence
1 of the Basic Law (Grundgesetz – GG), which regulates the employment of
the armed forces for the control of natural disasters or in the case of
especially grave accidents, does not permit the Federation to order
missions of the armed forces with specifically military weapons.
Moreover, § 14.3 of the Aviation Security Act is incompatible with the
fundamental right to life and with the guarantee of human dignity to the
extent that the use of armed force affects persons on board the aircraft
who are not participants in the crime. By the state’s using their
killing as a means to save others, they are treated as mere objects,
which denies them the value that is due to a human being for his or her
own sake.

Thus, the constitutional complaint lodged by four lawyers, a patent
attorney and a flight captain, who had directly challenged § 14.3 of the
Aviation Security Act, was successful.

The decision is essentially based on the following considerations:
1. The Federation lacks the legislative competence to issue the
regulation laid down in § 14.3 of the Aviation Security Act. It is true
that Article 35.2 sentence 2 and 35.3 sentence 1 of the Basic Law
directly provides the Federation with the right to issue regulations
that provide the details concerning the use of the armed forces for the
control of natural disasters and in the case of especially grave
accidents in accordance with these provisions and concerning the
cooperation with the Länder (states) affected. The armed forces’
authorisation to use direct armed force against an aircraft which is
contained in § 14.3 of the Aviation Security Act is, however, not in
harmony with Article 35.2 sentence 2 and 35.3 of the Basic Law.

a) The incompatibility of § 14.3 of the Aviation Security Act with
Article 35.2 sentence 2 of the Basic Law (regional emergency situation)
does, however, not result from the mere fact that the operation is
intended to be ordered and carried out at a point time in which a major
aerial incident (hijacking of an aircraft) has already happened but in
which the especially grave accident (intended air crash) itself has not
yet occurred. For the concept of an “especially grave accident” within
the meaning of Article 35.2 sentence 2 of the Basic Law also comprises
events in which a disaster can be expected to happen with near
certainty. The reason why an operation involving the direct use of armed
force against an aircraft does not respect the boundaries of Article
35.2 sentence 2 of the Basic Law is, however, that this provision does
not permit an operational mission of the armed forces with specifically
military weapons for the control of natural disasters or in the case of
especially grave accidents. The “assistance” referred to in Article 35.2
sentence 2 of the Basic Law is rendered to the Länder to enable them to
effectively fulfil the task, which is incumbent on them in the context
of their police power, to deal with natural disasters or especially
grave accidents. Because the assistance is oriented towards this task
which falls under the police power of the Länder this also necessarily
determines the kind of resources that can be used where the armed forces
are employed for rendering assistance. They cannot be of a kind which
is, with regard to their quality, completely different from those which
are originally at the disposal of the Länder police forces for
performing their duties.

b) § 14.3 of the Aviation Security Act is also not compatible with
Article 35.3 sentence 1 of the Basic Law. This provision explicitly
authorises only the Federal Government to order the employment of the
armed forces in the case of an interregional emergency situation. The
regulations in the Aviation Security Act do not take sufficient account
of this. They provide that the Minister of Defence, in agreement with
the Federal Minister of the Interior, shall decide in cases in which a
decision of the Federal Government is not possible in time. In view of
the fact that generally, the time available in such a context will only
be very short, the Federal Government will, pursuant to this provision,
be substituted not only in exceptional cases but regularly by individual
government ministers when it comes to deciding on the employment of the
armed forces in interregional emergency situations. This clearly shows
that as a general rule, it will not be possible to deal with measures of
the kind regulated in § 14.3 of the Aviation Security Act in the manner
that is provided under Article 35.3 sentence 1 of the Basic Law.
Moreover, the boundaries of constitutional law relating to the armed
forces under Article 35.3 sentence 1 of the Basic Law have been
overstepped above all because also in the case of an interregional
emergency situation, a mission of the armed forces with typically
military weapons is constitutionally impermissible.

2. § 14.3 of the Aviation Security Act is also not compatible with the
right to life (Article 2.2 sentence 1 of the Basic Law) in conjunction
with the guarantee of human dignity (Article 1.1 of the Basic Law) to
the extent that the use of armed force affects persons on board the
aircraft who are not participants in the crime.

The passengers and crew members who are exposed to such a mission are in
a desperate situation. They can no longer influence the circumstances of
their lives independently from others in a self-determined manner. This
makes them objects not only of the perpetrators of the crime. Also the
state which in such a situation resorts to the measure provided by §
14.3 of the Aviation Security Act treats them as mere objects of its
rescue operation for the protection of others. Such a treatment ignores
the status of the persons affected as subjects endowed with dignity and
inalienable rights. By their killing being used as a means to save
others, they are treated as objects and at the same time deprived of
their rights; with their lives being disposed of unilaterally by the
state, the persons on board the aircraft, who, as victims, are
themselves in need of protection, are denied the value which is due to a
human being for his or her own sake. In addition, this happens under
circumstances in which it cannot be expected that at the moment in which
a decision concerning an operation pursuant to § 14.3 of the Aviation
Security Act is taken, there is always a complete picture of the factual
situation and that the factual situation can always be assessed
correctly then.

Under the applicability of Article 1.1 of the Basic Law (guarantee of
human dignity) it is absolutely inconceivable to intentionally kill
persons who are in such a helpless situation on the basis of a statutory
authorisation. The assumption that someone boarding an aircraft as a
crew member or as a passenger will presumably consent to its being shot
down, and thus in his or her own killing, in the case of the aircraft
becoming involved in an aerial incident is an unrealistic fiction.. Also
the assessment that the persons affected are doomed anyway cannot remove
from the killing of innocent people in the situation described its
nature of an infringement of these people’s right to dignity. Human life
and human dignity enjoy the same constitutional protection regardless of
the duration of the physical existence of the individual human being.
The opinion, which has been advanced on some occasions, that the persons
who are held on board have become part of a weapon and must bear being
treated as such, expresses in a virtually undisguised manner that the
victims of such an incident are no longer perceived as human beings. The
idea that the individual is obliged to sacrifice his or her life in the
interest of the state as a whole in case of need if this is the only
possible way of protecting the legally constituted body politic from
attacks which are aimed at its breakdown and destruction also does not
lead to a different result. For in the area of application of § 14.3 of
the Aviation Security Act the issue is not the defence against attacks
aimed at abolishing the body politic and at eliminating the state’s
legal and constitutional system. Finally, § 14.3 of the Aviation
Security Act also cannot be justified by invoking the state’s duty to
protect those against whose lives the aircraft that is abused as a
weapon for a crime is intended to be used. Only such means may be used
to comply with the state’s obligations to protect as are in harmony with
the constitution. This is not the case in the case at hand.

3. § 14.3 of the Aviation Security Act is, however, compatible with
Article 2.2 sentence 1 in conjunction with Article 1.1 of the Basic Law
to the extent that the direct use of armed force is aimed at a pilotless
aircraft or exclusively at persons who want to use the aircraft as a
weapon of a crime against the lives of people on the ground. It
corresponds to the attacker’s position as a subject if the consequences
of his or her self-determined conduct are attributed to him or her
personally, and if the attacker is held responsible for the events that
he or she started. The principle of proportionality is also complied
with. The objective to save human lives which is pursued by § 14.3 of
the Aviation Security Act is of such weight that it can justify the
grave encroachment on the perpetrators’ fundamental right to life.
Moreover, the gravity of the encroachment upon their fundamental rights
is reduced by the fact that the perpetrators themselves brought about
the necessity of state intervention and that they can avert such
intervention at any time by refraining from realising their criminal
plan.

All the same, the regulation is void also in this respect because the
Federation lacks legislative competence in the first place."


Comment:
The debate is already going though. Some people within CDU and CSU still do not wish to let go of the thought of German Bundeswehr soldiers guarding soccer stadiums. Perhaps they should rather spend more money on a suffcient amount of police forces (which have suffered from major fund shortening acts). Might come too late for the World Championship, but will perhaps be better for the future.

About this declaration majorly the part about the court not being willing to degrade the crew and passengers of a hijacked airliner to a mere object of a state's action has caught my attention. It was new to me. It's roughly in the middle about one paragraph below the one starting with 2.

The evening news called the court's decision as being a historical one in the court's and the constitution's history.
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