Principles of international mutual assistance in criminal matters apply to any legal action against alleged Gülen supporters in Switzerland

Information, FOJ, 25.07.2016

Every state is free to commence criminal proceedings on the basis of its own legal system. However, no foreign state may take sovereign action on Swiss territory without authorisation. In particular, this includes acts that are connected with criminal proceedings, such as interviews, questioning witnesses, and arrests, etc. Breaches of this principle are punishable under Art. 271 of the Swiss Criminal Code.

Should a foreign state require information from Switzerland to conduct criminal proceedings, or if it wishes to have persons in Switzerland arrested, it must proceed via the proper channels for international mutual assistance in criminal matters. Specifically, Turkey would have to submit an extradition request, or a request for another form of legal assistance (such as the taking of evidence).

Certain conditions must nonetheless be fulfilled before Switzerland is able to provide assistance. 'Dual criminality' is one such principle. This means that an offence must be punishable in both Switzerland and Turkey. Furthermore, Switzerland does not provide legal assistance if it considers that proceedings are being pursued on the grounds of an offence that is primarily political in nature. Information on international mutual assistance in criminal matters, and on how requests for legal assistance are checked and evaluated, can be found on the following pages on our website:

Further information


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Ingrid Ryser Federal Office of Justice
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