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Government for extended pursuit of sexual crimes

File picture of arrest of Swiss paedophile Rene Osterwalder


The government has proposed extending the statute of limitations on sexual crimes against minors. It said it wanted the ten-year statute to begin when the victim turns 18, and not when the crime is committed.

In a draft law published on Wednesday, the government said the main reason for the change was that many young victims find they cannot talk about what has been done to them until after adolescence, particularly in cases of incest.

As an example, if a five year-old is sexually abused, the perpetrator can still be taken to court for it 23 years later - ten years after the victim turns 18. Under current laws the crime has passed the statute of limitations before the child has reached adulthood.

The draft law also includes a proposal to ban the purchase and possession of hard-core pornography including images of children or sexual violence. Currently, it is not illegal to buy or own hard-core pornography for private use.

The draft law now goes to parliament for approval, and if accepted people caught with such material could face up to one year in jail.

The government says this would bring Switzerland in line with most other industrialised countries, which have already banned the possession of child pornography.

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