2007-07-30 20:00:23

UDC wants a safer Switzerland

Today, I received an information sheet from the UDC party, which asks me to sing something for a safer Switzerland. Opening the document and looking at its inside, it becomes clear what one is supposed to sign: it's a petition for an initiative aiming at provisions that allow the police to expel foreigners that «committed crimes».

Being a legal analyst, let's have a quick look at the paper.

The first part talks about modifications to the constitution(!), and demands Art. 121 to be ammended with 4 new alineae:

3 Ils (les étrangers) sont privés de leur titre de séjour, indépendamment de leur statut, et de tous leur droits à séjourner en Suisse:

a. s'ils ont été condamnés par un jugement entré en force pour meutre, viol, ou tout autre délit sexuel grave, pour un acte de violence d'une autre nature tel que le brigandage, la traite d'êtres humains, le trafic de drogue ou l'effraction; ou

b. s'ils ont perçu abusivement des prestations des assurances sociales ou de l'aide sociale.

However, alinea 2 already clearly states that foreigners who pose a threat to the security of the state can be expelled. This undoubtedly also includes murder, rape and slave trade.

Also, it is a pretty good question why burglary is actually part of this list. As we will see later, the provisions imposed by this paragraph are 5 to 15 years of being banned from entering Switzerland. This would appear to be quite a hard punishment for burglary.

Also, the «permis de séjour» doesn't entitle people to take advantage of any social support, so this section is mostly nonsense.

Another problem with these formulations is that «any other severe sexual delict» is also subject to these provisions. There is no concise definition of a «severe sexual delict». For example, pedophilia is widely abused nowadays as an accusation, while it is not outlined in this paragraph whether or not it would be subject to the paragraph.

4 Le législateur précise les faits constitutifs des infractions visées à l'al. 3. Il peut les compléter par d'autres faits constitutifs.

This makes the legislation even more blurred. In fact, this ammended article would be an universal tool to expell foreigners, as a constitutional right of the authorities of the country. It appears somewhat unfitting to implement such legislation in the constitution.

5 Les étrangers qui, en vertu des al. 3 et 4, sont privés de leur titre de séjour et de tous leur droits à séjourner en Suisse dovient être expulsés du pays par les autorités compétentes et frappés d'une interdiction d'entrer sur le territoire allant de 5 à 15 ans. En cas de récidive, l'interdiction d'entrer sur le territoire sera fixée à 20 ans.

This constitutes basically a specialized version of alinea 2. However, the formulation doesn't give a judge any choice in the case of e.g. a burglar to decide on a reduced punishment of, say, 6 months of being expelled, or not being expelled at all. In cases where the foreigner really constitutes a threat to the security of the state, Alinea 2 is effective anyway.

6 Les étrangers qui contreviennent à l'interdiction d'entrer sur le territoire ou qui y entrent illégalement de quelque manière que ce soit sont punissables. Le législateur édicte les dispositions correspondantes.

This goes straight against the sans-papiers discussion. It appears wrong to prevent any solution to this problem before the discussion has come to a public conclusion. Also, the current situation with the sans-papiers is actually caused by the fact that the provisions that this proposal tries to establish already exist.

It appears that one of the main purposes of this documents is to establish more strict punishments for sans-papiers, and that the fear of the people from the «evil raping and murdering horde of foreigners» is being exploited to reach this aim. Also, the proposal isn't very clear on how to trigger these legal provisions, so it appears that, while it claims to make Switzerland a safer place, it actually reduces legal security for foreigners. Thus, it actually achieve the opposite of what it was originally meant to do.

Posted by Tonnerre Lombard | Permanent link | File under: news, politics