The Federal Authorities
of the Swiss Confederation

Book Two: Specific Provisions
Title Three: Offences against Personal Honour and in Breach of Secrecy or Privacy
< Art. 172ter 4. General provisions. / Minor offences against property
> Art. 174 1. Offence against personal honour. / Wilful defamation

Art. 1731

1. Offence against personal honour.


1.  Any person who in addressing a third party, makes an accusation against or casts suspicion on another of dishonourable conduct or of other conduct that is liable to damage another's reputation,

any person who disseminates such accusations or suspicions,

is liable on complaint to a monetary penalty not exceeding 180 daily penalty units2.

2.  If the accused proves that the statement made or disseminated by him corresponds to the truth or that he had substantial grounds to hold an honest belief that it was true, he may not be held guilty of an offence.

3.  The accused is not permitted to lead evidence in support of and is criminally liable for statements that are made or disseminated with the primary intention of accusing someone of disreputable conduct without there being any public interest or any other justified cause, and particularly where such statements refer to a person’s private or family life.

4.  If the offender recants his statement, the court may impose a more lenient penalty or no penalty at all.

5.  If the accused is unable to prove the truth of his statement, or if it is shown to be untrue, or if the accused recants his statement, the court must state this in its judgment or in another document.

1 Amended by No I of the Federal Act of 5 Oct. 1950, in force since 5 Jan. 1951 (AS 1951 1 16; BBl 1949 I 1249).
2 Term in accordance with No II 1 para. 13 of the Federal Act of 13 Dec. 2002, in force since 1 Jan. 2007 (AS 2006 3459 3535; BBl 1999 1979). This amendment has been taken into account throughout the Second Book.

English is not an official language of the Swiss Confederation. This translation is provided for information purposes only and has no legal force.

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