Criminal procedure against FGM in Switzerland
In November 2007 proceedings were opened concering a case of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the canton of Zurich. It is the first time that such a case has come before a court in Switzerland. The federal prosecutor invoked the offence of grievous bodily harm in his lawsuit against the parents of a 13-year old Somalian girl. The tutelage office filed the complaint based on a medical report, which automatically set in motion an official investigation. If the parents are found guilty it would set a precedent in the canton of Zurich.
Female genital mutilation soon to be outlawed?
The tradition of FGM has become an issue in Switzerland through the immigration of people from countries, where this tradition is still practised. The Swiss parliament is currently debating an initiative by the National Councillor Maria Roth-Bernasconi (SP, GE), who is demanding that parents who continue this inhumane practice serve prison sentences. Furthermore, the initiative wants to introduce state measures to raise awareness and help prevention in order to fight this harmful practice systematically and to inform migrants about the medical and legal consequences of FGM in Switzerland. Although the Federal Council proposed the refusal of this motion, the National Council adopted the draft. The commission for legal affairs of the Council of States is also in favour of this initiative.
- Erstmals Strafverfahren wegen Genitalverstümmelung in der Schweiz
NZZ, 17 November 2007 (in German, pdf, 3 p)
- Female genital mutilation
- What is female genital mutilation?
Factsheet by the World Health Organisation