Federal court rules against MSF in ransom case

Switzerland's highest court has ordered the non-governmental organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) to repay €270,000 (SFr437,000) to the Dutch government.

This content was published on July 14, 2008 minutes

The court on Monday overturned a February ruling by judges in Geneva, who had rejected the Dutch claim for reimbursement after it paid €1 million to free an aid worker in the Russian republic of Dagestan.

The Swiss section of MSF had employed the worker, Arjan Erkel, a Dutch national, at the time he was kidnapped by unknown gunmen.

The Dutch had claimed that they advanced the ransom money under the understanding that it would be repaid by MSF.

The court also denied MSF's claim to recover €230,000 from the Dutch government that it put up for the ransom.

It was the first time a democratically elected government sued a non-governmental organisation.

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