BERN The Swiss National Council recently supported an initiative seeking to ban convicted paedophiles from ever working with children again. The so-called Marche Blanche proposal, which passed by 82 votes to79, aims to prevent repeat offences by prohibiting access to potential victims through professional pathways. The referendum is set for18May.
The Federal Council, however, deems the initiative to be at odds with the Swiss constitution. The clauses would effectively categorize offences such as consensual sex between a minor and an adult as akin to rape or child pornography charges. Opponents argue that it bypasses the central tenet of proportionality in statutory interpretation cases – a legal measure ensuring a balance between punitive measures and legal leniency.
Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga also emphasized government plans to implement sanctions tailored to the severity of the crime committed. A life ban from certain professions and volunteer activities would only be implemented as a last resort. The parliament’s agenda goes a step further: as of 2015, physical and psychological miscreants are to be punished by the same legal framework, further protecting minors and those unable to defend themselves.