The Federal Criminal Office (Bundeskriminalamt, BKA) records about 200 war-related crimes in Ukraine every week. The acts are “mainly directed against members of our society of Russian, but also Ukrainian origin,” BKA head Holger Münch said in an interview with the daily Tagesspiegel. These are “primarily crimes such as threats, insults or damage to property.” Their number has been “stable or slightly decreasing” in recent weeks.
Posts on online platforms containing hate speech
Further developments are “difficult to predict and largely depend on the further course of the war,” Münch added. The Federal Criminal Office collects, records and evaluates “all relevant information provided by the states and federal institutions and compiles it in order to assess the situation.”
With regard to Internet content containing hate speech directed against Russians and Ukrainians in the context of the ongoing war in Ukraine, these are only isolated cases, according to Münch. However, full data on this subject is lacking.
No reports from tech giants
“Platform providers obliged under the German law against hate speech and false information on the internet do not currently submit any reports of suspected crimes to the BKA due to ongoing legal proceedings in their case. Companies such as Facebook and Google have filed lawsuits against the relevant provisions of the Better Social Media Enforcement Act, commonly referred to as the “Facebook Act” (Facebook-Gesetz), which requires social media to more consistently remove hate speech from its platforms.
Therefore, the BKA is using decentralized reporting structures “that already exist in the states to combat hate speech online,” – Münch said. Currently, several hundred reports per month are processed. “Of course, this is not yet enough to adequately counter the problem,” said the BKA chief, who hopes to work out a solution to the problem at the EU level.
Digital Services Act
“There is a European piece of legislation in the pipeline – the Digital Services Act – which will set out the relevant reporting obligations across Europe,” – Münch said. “We are preparing for this together with the police authorities of the federal states and the judiciary and are using this time to further optimize the workflow.”