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Switzerland steps up fight against organised crime

The justice minister, Ruth Metzler, is due to sign a UN convention on organised crime next month.

(Keystone / Alessandro della Valle)

The Swiss government has adopted a United Nations convention aimed at cracking down on organised crime, including money laundering and corruption.

The cabinet also formally approved an amendment to the penal code to include genocide as a punishable offence.

The UN convention obliges signatory states to step up the fight against money laundering, corruption and obstruction of the justice authorities. The agreement applies only to crimes committed by organisations active in several states.

Offenders face a minimum prison sentence of four years.

The authorities in Bern said on Monday that Swiss laws were in line with international regulations. They said that in some cases Swiss legislation went even further than the UN convention.

However, Switzerland will have to amend its law to sign several additional protocols, including trafficking in illegal immigrants and sex slavery.

The justice minister, Ruth Metzler is due to sign the UN convention on organised crime at a conference in Italy next month. Parliament has still to discuss the agreement.

In other business, the cabinet formally signed into law an amendment which allows the sanctioning of genocide.

It serves as the legal basis to punish anybody who is found guilty of mass killings committed on racial, ethnic or religious grounds.

The amendment is part of Swiss efforts to become a founding member of a planned permanent international criminal court. Switzerland signed an international convention on genocide in 1999, and parliament approved the agreement earlier this year.

A court verdict is pending in Switzerland against a former Rwandan official, Fulgence Niyonteze, accused of involvement in the 1994 genocide in the central African country.

swissinfo with agencies


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