Cabinet opposes database for dangerous offenders

Justice minister Simonetta Sommaruga is opposed to a database for offenders Keystone

Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga says she is opposed to a nationwide database for dangerous criminals. She was responding to calls from politicians after a convicted rapist was suspected of killing his therapist during rehabilitation.

This content was published on September 17, 2013 minutes and agencies

Sommaruga said on Tuesday that the cabinet does not favour a national registry for particularly dangerous offenders, following the homicide in Geneva last week. Such a register would not improve the situation, Sommaruga told Swiss public radio SRF.
She asked whether it was necessary to make changes to legislation or whether changes needed to be made to enforcement in individual cantons to prevent crimes by repeat offenders.
On September 12, a convicted rapist met his therapist for their weekly horse riding therapy session. On the way to the equestrian centre, the suspect was allowed to buy a knife. The body of the therapist was found the following day. The suspect was arrested on the Polish-German border on Sunday.
Currently, every Swiss canton has different laws on sentencing and rehabilitation.
Following two cases – the most recent a 19-year-old woman who was killed in May by her boyfriend while serving out his murder sentence under house arrest – politicians have cried out for nationwide legislation and a database of sex offenders.

The cabinet is opposed to such a registry since, it argues, it would be difficult to set the criteria which qualify individuals as “dangerous”. The government has said it trusts the cantonal police and justice authorities to identify and supervise dangerous offenders.
The cantons for their part have also been against such a database, saying it is difficult to get the necessary data.

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