Criminal Law Division

Criminal Law and Law of Criminal Procedure Unit

One of the main tasks of the Criminal Law and Law of Criminal Procedure Unit is to draft proposals for amendments to the Swiss Criminal Code (Strafgesetzbuch, StGB) and also to the Juvenile Criminal Law Act (Jugendstrafgesetz, JStG). In doing so, it must weigh up what criminal law can achieve and where its boundaries lie – whether a planned penal provision will have the desired controlling effect or whether it might produce unintentional side-effects. The Unit is also responsible for amendments to the Swiss Criminal Procedure Code (Strafprozessordnung) and the Juvenile Criminal Procedure Code (Jugendstrafprozessordnung), as well as to the Criminal Justice Authorities Act (Strafbehördenorganisationsgesetz).

Furthermore, the Unit reviews both formal and material criminal provisions in the legislative projects of other offices and agencies (law on secondary penalties), draws up expert opinions on criminal law and the law of criminal procedure, and prepares the Federal Council's reports on pardon applications for presentation to the Federal Assembly.

International Criminal Law Unit

This Unit participates in international negotiations on conventions and other instruments of international criminal law, and deals with the integration of these instruments into Swiss law. Issues with which the Unit is concerned include corruption, money laundering, organized crime (including the trading and trafficking of people), terrorism and follow-up measures to the International Criminal Court’s Rome Statute (codification of war crimes and crimes against humanity). It is responsible for the definition and coordination of the Swiss Confederation’s international criminal law policy, provides Swiss authorities with information about foreign criminal law on request, and informs foreign authorities about Swiss criminal law.

Execution of Sentences and Measures Unit

The Execution of Sentences and Measures Unit is responsible for implementing the Federal Act on Federal Subsidies for the Execution of Sentences and Measures. It provides grants and subsidies for the construction, renovation and expansion of institutions in which adults can serve their sentences, and of educative institutions for children and young adults. It also contributes to the operating costs of educative institutions for children and young adults on the basis of certain criteria. Furthermore, the Unit funds pilot projects for developing and testing new methods and concepts relating to the enforcement of sentences and measures and to juvenile support, and co-finances the Swiss Competence Centre for the Execution of Criminal Penalties. It is also involved within various bodies in co-ordinating the enforcement of sentences and measures.

Swiss Criminal Records

Swiss Criminal Records help Confederation agencies and the cantons to perform a variety of tasks in connection with criminal proceedings, executing sentences and measures, reviewing applications for asylum or in relation to naturalisation proceedings, for example. The records office also provide extracts to private individuals which state the information that is held on them.

Swiss Criminal Records cover persons who have been found guilty of offences in Switzerland, as well as Swiss citizens who have been found guilty of offences abroad. All guilty verdicts relating to crimes and misdemeanours are registered, provided a sentence or measure has been handed down. The records also include cases in which a person is in breach of the law or contract if their punishment is a fine in excess of 5000 Swiss francs or community service of more than 180 hours. Verdicts are erased after a statutory period which depends on the sanction in question. In addition, the records list persons against whom criminal proceedings for a crime or misdemeanour are pending in Switzerland.


For the complete documentation see the pages in German, French or Italian.

Last modification 29.04.2021

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Federal Office of Justice
Criminal Law Division
Bundesrain 20
CH-3003 Bern
T +41 58 462 41 19
F +41 58 462 78 79

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