Swiss Criminal Code

Swiss Criminal Code
Original title German: Strafgesetzbuch (StGB), French: Code pénal suisse (CP), Italian: Codice penale svizzero (CP), Romansh: Cudesch penal svizzer
Ratified 21 December 1937
Date effective 1 January 1942 (current version as of 1 July 2016)
Location SR 311.0
Author(s) Carl Stooss

The Swiss Criminal Code (SR 311, German: Strafgesetzbuch (StGB), French: Code pénal suisse (CP), Italian: Codice penale svizzero (CP), Romansh: Cudesch penal svizzer) is the criminal code in Swiss law. The original version was created on 21 December 1937. It entered into force on 1 January 1942. Current version is of 1 July 2016. Previously, criminal law had been a cantonal matter.[1][2]


The Swiss Criminal Code is based on an initial draft by Carl Stooss in 1893. He proposed one of the first criminal codes that included both punishment and preemptive, safeguard measures. The original code was approved by the people on 3 July 1938 in a referendum, with 358,438 voting in favor to 312,030 voting against. With its entry into force on 1 January 1942, all federal legislation that contradicted the new Criminal Code was abolished. This especially included the death penalty, which was still in force in some cantons, such as the canton of Valais. Moreover, the competences for substantive law was largely transferred from the cantons of the Confederation. The cantons retain only the competence on the regulations of cantonal procedural law and cantonal tax legislation and violations.

The code has been revised numerous times since 1942. The most recent revision (as of 2010), in effect since 2007, introduced the possibility to convert short prison sentences (below one year) into fines, calculated based on a daily rate which has to be established based on the "personal and economic situation of the convict at the time of the verdict", with an upper limit set at CHF 3000 per day of the sentence. Practically all prison sentences shorter than one year have since been converted into fines, conditional sentences (parole) to conditional fines. This has caused controversy because the result is that lighter offences not punishable by imprisonment always result in unconditional fines, while more severe offences now often result in conditional fines that do not need to be paid at all. The Federal Council in October 2010 announced its intention to revert to the earlier system, and all large parties expressed at least partial support.[3]


General provisions (articles 1-110 of the Criminal Code)

First Book: The first book lays down general provisions which apply to the following books ("General"). The first book contains provisions on:

Specific provisions (articles 111-332 of the Penal Code)

Second Book: This specifies what actions are punishable. The second book is divided into 20 titles that summarize the various crimes ("Special Section"):

Introduction and application of the law (articles 333-392 of the Penal Code)

Third Book: The third book mainly covers the powers of courts and defines the process requirements.

See also


Zürich University
University of Bern
University of Basel

Notes and references

  1. "SR 311 Schweizerisches Strafgesetzbuch" (official website) (in German, French, and Italian). Berne, Switzerland. 10 September 2016. Retrieved 2016-09-14.
  2. "SR 311.0 Swiss Civil Code of 21 December 1937 (Status as of 1 July 2016)" (official website). Berne, Switzerland: Swiss Federal Council. 10 September 2016. Retrieved 2016-09-14.
  3. sda, ed. (29 October 2010). "Bedingte Geldstrafe bald abgeschafft?". 20 Minuten (in German). Zurich, Switzerland. Retrieved 2016-09-17.

External links

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