The rightwing Swiss People’s Party has launched a second initiative to deport foreign criminals, this time to define exactly under which circumstances they can and cannot be deported.
The initiative text, which extends to five articles over three pages, was accepted on Tuesday by the Federal Chancellery. The party has until January 24, 2014, to collect the 100,000 signatures required to force a nationwide vote on the issue.
In a statement, the People’s Party said it had launched the initiative because the government is taking too long to implement its first initiative, which won a majority in a nationwide vote in November 2010.
“The federal authorities are continually delaying the implementation of these constitutional provisions on flimsy pretexts. Effectively, the government is trampling on the sovereign will of the people,” the party said.
The government has warned that implementing the initiative, which demands the automatic deportation of convicted foreign criminals regardless of the seriousness of the offence, would violate humanitarian law and international treaties. It has put forward two options for consideration by political parties and organisations following consultation from an expert advisory group.
The first sets out a list of specific crimes which would lead to the automatic expulsion of a convicted foreign criminal provided there is no breach of their basic human rights. Judges would also have discretion not to order deportation for misdemeanours that result in prison terms of less than six months.
The second proposal foresees the automatic deportation of non-Swiss criminals without taking into account a minimum prison term and includes a broader list of crimes.
But the People’s Party insists that the initiative must be strictly applied to respect voters’ intentions. Its second initiative seeks automatic deportation of foreigners convicted of serious crimes regardless of whether they are repeat offenders or of the sentence pronounced by the judge.
Repeated minor offenses, such as brawling and threatening public officials, will also be subject to automatic deportation, and automatic deportation will apply regardless of the personal situation of the foreigner.
Self-defence or other excusable necessity would constitute the only exceptions to automatic deportation. Deportation could be temporarily suspended in the case of refugees from countries where security risks are still recognised, or in cases where the person risks inhumane treatment should they return to their country of origin.
The initiative text specifies that the Swiss law would have primacy over international law.
swissinfo.ch and agencies