Parliament sets puberty age for sex crimes

The House of Representatives has accepted a cabinet proposal to lift the statute of limitations for grave sexual offences committed on children under 12.

This content was published on March 6, 2012 - 12:38 and agencies

This is the latest stage in the gradual introduction into law of a November 2008 national vote in which 52 per cent of the electorate came out in favour of proposals to tighten legal provisions against paedophile criminals.

The people’s initiative was opposed by the government and most political parties at the time.

The Swiss constitution now states that sexual or pornographic crimes committed on pre-pubescent children are subject to lifelong prosecution.

Formerly a person suspected of a paedophile crime could be prosecuted for up to 15 years after the crime, or until the victim turned 25.

It remains for pre-pubescent to be defined in law with an age limit. Cabinet along with a parliamentary law commission wanted to impose an age limit of 12 years, a position accepted by the House of Representatives by 102 votes to 82.

Some parties, including the Social Democrats and the Liberal Greens, had sought a higher age limit.

In the final overall vote the House of Representatives accepted the new legal provisions unanimously, including a list of applicable crimes, by 176 votes with nine abstentions. The proposal will now be referred to the Senate.

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