Magazine of the INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION AGAINST PSYCHIATRIC ASSAULT
No. 3 - October 2006
Coercive treatment is a crime
Resolution of the General Assembly of the members of the Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft Psychiatrie-Erfahrener (a federal association of German psychiatry survivors) on 8. 8. 2006. It was sent to all courts nationwide.
The 12th Civil Court of Appeal of the German Federal High Court (BGH) with its resolution of 1.2.2006 (file reference XII ZB 236/05) approved coercive treatment in psychiatry. However, on the highest level it set a condition for the lower courts, strict adherence to which we will, of course, insist upon at every opportunity.
In this regard we would like to make two things quite clear:
- We are of the opinion that any coercive treatment in psychiatry against the will of an individual represents a crime and a fundamental violation of the basic the right to physical inviolability. This is also underscored by the criticism by Professor Wolf-Dieter Narr of the judgement published on the internet at: www.die bpe.de/kritik: "the adoption by the BGH of this resolution involves several legal errors." From an inquiry covering all courts we know that a quarter of them share this opinion, however, as justification for the use of coercive treatment many courts will now refer to the obiter dictum of the BGH.
With this decision the BGH has not settled the matter; quite to the contrary in fact. We will now do everything in our power to obtain a just decision by our own Federal Constitutional Court (or the European Court of Human Rights), because abuse in the form of psychiatric coercive treatment violates the human rights and dignity of the individual and has no constitutional basis whatsoever.
- The path to Karlsruhe (where the supreme court of Germany is located) will unfortunately be delayed by the fact that only the lower courts must fulfill the condition of the BGH. In this condition it is clearly laid down that for permission for coercive treatment the judge must provide an exact prescription, including the active substances, dosage and administration frequency.
This is the reason why we call this judgement the PRESCRIPTION VERDICT, quotation: "The matter gives further cause to emphasize that in the permission for confinement according to § 1906 Paragraph 1 NR. 2 BGB, any treatment condoned by a legal guardian must be described as precisely as possible..., and in the case of treatment involving the administration of medicine this includes as a rule as exact an indication of the medicine or the active substance as possible and their (maximum) dosage as well as the administration frequency."
Without these exact data, any psychiatric coercive treatment is, also according to the interpretation of the BGH, a severe crime of bodily injury.
Any legal guardian, who does not want to be confronted with the reproach of being jointly responsible for coercive treatment in psychiatry, which is inhuman, reprehensible and a violation of basic rights, is called upon never to approve any such abuse, let alone to encourage it.
Sample form in the internet for bringing a criminal charge, taking into account the "prescription verdict": www.die bpe.de/strafanzeige.htm