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New chief prosecutor named

Keystone

The government has named Erwin Beyeler as the new chief prosecutor to take over from Valentin Roschacher, who stepped down amid controversy at the end of 2006.

This content was published on June 8, 2007 - 14:13

Beyeler, a 55-year-old lawyer who has worked as a high-ranking official for both the cantonal and federal police forces, will start on August 13, the justice ministry announced on Friday.

"Erwin Beyeler has the perfect profile to run the Federal Prosecutor's Office," the government stated.

"The post requires a strong personality, a certain resistance to stress, strength of conviction and confirmed skills in leading a team, as well as detailed knowledge of legal and social matters."

Justice Minister Christoph Blocher told a news conference Beyeler would have a major role in the implentation of the reforms of the Federal Prosecutor's Office.

Blocher said the election of the new head had to wait until now because of a revision of previous reform plans.

They include the supervision of the the office and the streamlining of procedures.

Beyeler, for his part, described his interest in the new post as a logical consequence of his previous jobs. He added his aim was to steer the prosecutor's office back into calmer waters.

Clashes

Beyeler's predecessor, Valentin Roschacher, formally stepped down after coming in for heavy criticism over his handling of various issues.

Roschacher, who took over as federal prosecutor in March 2000, clashed with Blocher prior to his departure.

A parliamentary committee criticised Blocher for overstepping his mandate when he negotiated Roschacher's departure last year. However, the justice minister rejected the allegations.

Pressure on the prosecutor's office, and Roschacher himself, had been mounting since 2004 when two law professors condemned an anti-terror agreement Roschacher's department had concluded with the United States.

In that same year the prosecutor's office was accused of inefficiency. Although Roschacher rejected the criticism, an inspection process was instituted.

In the following year, the department was once again in the firing line after it pulled the plug on a heavily criticised investigation into the financing of global terror.

Trouble flared again following the publication of an article at the end of May 2006 in the weekly Weltwoche magazine. The story claimed that a Colombian informant and drug baron had duped Roschacher in a money-laundering case concerning a private banker, Oskar Holenweger.

The federal prosecutor rejected the allegation, saying his involvement was limited to contacts with the Colombian's lawyer.

swissinfo with agencies

Other top government appointments

Top army general:

Among the other appointments announced on Friday, Brigadier Roland Nef was named the new head of Switzerland's armed forces to replace Christophe Keckeis who is retiring.

The 49-year-old Nef, who is currently a tank and artillery commander, will take over from Keckeis on January 1, 2008, the defence ministry said.

Nef will be granted the title of corps commander, the equivalent of a three-star general.

Top research official:

The interior ministry announced the appointment of Mauro Dell'Ambrogio as new secretary of state for education and research taking over from Charles Kleiber who is also retiring.

Dell'Ambrogio, who hails from the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland, is 54 years old and will start his new job on January 1, 2008.

He is currently director of a technical training college in southern Switzerland. He studied law at Zurich University and is a former judge and police commandant. He also helped set up a university in southern Switzerland.

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