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Let judges expel foreign criminals: Sommaruga

Lyssandra Sears · 5 Apr 2012, 09:31

Published: 05 Apr 2012 10:27 GMT+02:00
Updated: 05 Apr 2012 09:31 GMT+02:00

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Justice Minister Simonetta Sommargua has proposed tough amendments to the penal code in an effort to deter criminals.

The Social Democratic minister wants to abolish conditional fines, reintroduce short prison sentences, and give judges the power to expel foreign criminals as soon as they have served their time. 

Sommaruga’s aim is to “restore confidence in criminal law,” she said on Wednesday, newspaper Tribune de Genève reports.

Short prison sentences for minor offences were done away with five years ago amid criticism from several political parties, sections of the judiciary and much of the population.

Public Prosecutor for the canton of Vaud, Eric Cottier, is pleased at the planned return of short prison terms to the judicial arsenal. Others, including National Councillors Christian Lüscher and Isabelle Moret, also welcomed the proposed changes.

Moret said she believed fines or community service were not suitable for certain offenders.

“The prospect of prison is more of a deterrent for some,” she told the newspaper.

However, National Councillor Carlo Sommaruga slammed the proposal from his fellow Social Democrats, saying that no conclusive data had yet been made available on the current penal code and so there was no way of knowing whether the conditional fine system had worked or not.

He called the justice minister’s move “criminal populism”, saying that she could only be politically motivated, newspaper Tages Anzeiger reported.

Simonetta Sommaruga also proposed a controversial change to the law, which will allow the judiciary in a criminal case to expel a foreign offender once his or her sentence has been served.

This has pleased the far right Swiss People’s Party(SVP), who have long championed the mandatory expulsion of foreign criminals.

In November 2010, Swiss voters approved an SVP initiative to expel all foreign criminals upon release. However, the government refused to push through all the agreed changes due to international concerns, Tages Anzeiger reports.

The SVP is now in the process of trying to force a second referendum on the matter to ensure deportation is made mandatory. 

Carlo Sommaruga meanwhile said he continues to oppose the mandatory expulsion of criminals who have served their sentences.

“Expulsion would mean that a foreign criminal would be punished twice for the same crime that a Swiss would be punished only once for” he said.

Lyssandra Sears (news@thelocal.ch)

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Your comments about this article

2012-04-05 18:56:22 by Garryladouceur
I agree that the judge should have the power to expel a person convicted for certain crimes. Probably those that involve jail time. But this is not enough. 1. a person could also be able to apply for a pardon I think. If that person can show that they have changed etc. then the pardon would negate the deportation order. 2. a person sentenced to deportation should not be able to appeal the deportation now or in any future Presumably, the confederation have calculated how much all of this will cost and have adjusted the various budgets accordingly..
2012-04-05 14:57:46 by HoppSuisse
[Quote] Expulsion would mean that a foreign criminal would be punished twice for the same crime that a Swiss would be punished only once for” he said. [Unquote]

A Criminal is punished for the crime and then expelled from the country because we do not want them here.

We must make expulsion mandatory because the Judges are too easy on criminals, just look at the murderers and rapists that get only a short sentence. A criminal (who should not have been allowed into the country to begin with) is encouraged with the hope that he will get off with a short prison sentence. Plus it is unfair to the judges to have to make such decisions, making expulsion mandatory eliminates the stress.

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