Switzerland's report on the implementation of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance
Bern, 19.12.2018 - At its meeting of 19 December 2018, the Federal Council adopted a report on Switzerland's measures to implement the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. These include a national network to facilitate the search for missing persons or persons who may have been subjected to enforced disappearance in detention. No case of enforced disappearance within the meaning of the Convention is known to have occurred in Switzerland to date. The implementation report will now be submitted to the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED).
The CED will review, on the basis of this report, the measures taken by the Swiss government to enact national legislation to implement the Convention. For the purposes of this Convention, 'enforced disappearance' is considered to be any form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the state or with the authorisation of the state, followed by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person.
The main part of the report deals with the legal and administrative measures that are already in place in Switzerland or have been explicitly taken by the Swiss authorities to implement the Convention. To implement the Convention, Switzerland has adopted an implementing act and specifically introduced a provision to the Swiss Criminal Code stipulating a custodial sentence for the crime of enforced disappearance (Art. 185bis). Switzerland's procedural measures include the establishment of a national network to facilitate the search for missing persons or persons who may have been subjected to enforced disappearance in detention. On request, the federal government's coordination unit contacts the cantonal coordination units, which in turn contact the cantonal custodial institutions. The network, which was set up as an alternative to a costly national register of persons deprived of their liberty, meets the convention's objective of protecting all persons from enforced disappearance.
No case of enforced disappearance as defined by the Convention has been reported in Switzerland to date, either at federal or cantonal level. Therefore, no investigations or judicial proceedings have ever been conducted in respect of a Swiss authority alleged to have been involved in a case of enforced disappearance.
The report was drawn up by the FDFA's Directorate of International Law with the cooperation of other federal offices responsible. The cantons were also consulted, in particular about their areas of responsibility. Interested members of the public and civil society organisations were also given the opportunity to put forward their views on the draft report.
Switzerland will now submit the draft report to the CED and will subsequently present it in detail.
International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance
The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance was adopted in New York on 20 December 2006. To date, 98 states have signed and 59 have ratified the Convention. Switzerland signed the Convention on 19 January 2011 and ratified it on 6 December 2016. It came into force in Switzerland on 1 January 2017. On ratifying the Convention, Switzerland declared that it recognised the CED's competence to receive and review communications from individuals under Swiss jurisdiction, or communications made on their behalf, claiming that they had been victims of a violation of the Convention by Switzerland. By ratifying the Convention, Switzerland also undertook to submit to the CED a report on the measures it has taken to fulfil its obligations under the Convention.
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