German and continental European criminal law theory is rooted in 19th century rule of law thinking. My presentation will explore, by way of two examples, its blind-spot(s) and how they are to be remedied. With regard to criminalization theory, I will claim that substantive theories fail to address questions of procedural legitimation in democratic polities . With regard to criminal law doctrine, I will shed light on why (and if) justifications (like self-defense or possibly whistle blowing) do not require a positive codification in a certain and parliamentary norm. Put differently, I will explore why the legality principle is not applied to justifications, although actual criminal liability depends on both the realization of the positive elements of an offense, and the non-realization of any justification. My presentation will bring to the fore that this doctrinal state of affairs results from blind-spot(s) of an outdated rule of law thinking.