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Federal judge slams justice system and minister

The outgoing judge of the Federal Criminal Court, Bernard Bertossa, says Swiss laws are insufficient to combat terrorism.

In an interview with the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper, he also criticised the Federal Prosecutor's Office and accused the outgoing justice minister, Christoph Blocher, of interfering in court matters.

Bertossa said terrorist activities were hard to prove under Swiss legislation and the justice authorities were not efficient enough to catch major delinquents notably in the field of money laundering and other white-collar crimes.

He also attacked the Prosecutor's Office for some of its bills of indictment and accused Blocher of creating an atmosphere of insecurity and unease.

"I think it is impermissible for a justice minister to criticise verdicts he does not agree with. It is the task of courts to interpret laws and not of a justice minister," Bertossa said.

Bertossa, a former Geneva prosecutor, who was elected to the Federal Criminal Court in Bellinzona in 2003, will step down at the end of this month to retire at the age of 65.

He chaired the court for two trials of radical Islamic organisations in Switzerland, but one case was thrown out because of a lack of evidence.


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