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Durham Law School


District Court of Cologne - Judgment of 7 May 2012 on male circumcision for religious reasons

(10 July 2012)

The District Court of Cologne (Germany) held on 7 May 2012 that the circumcision of a Muslim boy of the age of four constituted an unlawful offence of causing actual bodily harm and could not be justified by the consent of the boy's parents. The doctor performing the circumcision was acquitted, however, because the court conceded that he had acted under an unavoidable mistake of law due to the lack of unanimous opinion in the case law and literature at the time. The judgment is final. The decision has created an outrage among German Jewish and Muslim communities and will be debated for some time.
ILM is pleased to present the first English translation of the judgment with explanatory notes, to inform a wider audience. The translation was provided by a former German Erasmus student at Durham, Mr Alexander Aumüller, and edited by Professor Michael Bohlander.