Monday, July 2, 2012

Switzerland Cracks Down on Crime of FGM

Starting this week, it's imposing even harsher penalties on the repellent practice:
“Thanks to the new provision in our criminal law, mutilation of female genitals can be prosecuted and punished by a Swiss judge, even in cases where the offence has taken place abroad and even when not punishable under that country’s law,” Andrea Candrian, vice head of the Federal Justice Office’s international criminal law unit, told

Under the new legislation, any person who carries out an act of mutilation can be held responsible and punished.

“In addition, persons who have assisted in such a crime or contributed in another way can be prosecuted as well. For example – if a girl’s family has organised a mutilation – then not only the circumciser but also the family members involved can be prosecuted,” Candrian explained.

While the goal is not to target instances of FGM carried out in other countries, the legislation should help deter parents from forcing their daughters to undergo the painful and debilitating procedure.

The degree of mutilation (see box at right) along with the personal circumstances of the perpetrators will determine the severity of the sentence, which could involve up to ten years in prison or substantial fines...

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