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Switzerland: Child Pornography

(Mar. 31, 2009) On February 3, 2009, Switzerland promulgated an amendment to the Constitution that abolishes any statutory limitation of actions for pornographic or sexual offenses committed against prepubescent children (Bundesbeschluss, June 13, 2008, Amtliche Sammlung 471 (2009), available at : yes”> (click on page 471)). The new provision is article 123b of the Constitution (Bundesverfassung, Federal Constitution of the Swiss Confederation of April. 18, 1999, Systematische Sammlung des Bundesrechts No. 101 [in English], available at This article was adopted by a popular initiative, in accordance with article 139 of the Constitution.

The National Assembly (the combined federal legislature) had recommended a vote against the initiative (Bundesbeschluss, June 13, 2008, Bundesblatt 5245 (2008), available at (click on page 5245)), possibly because its content was better suited to the Criminal Code than the Constitution. The enacted article, however, is the second of its kind. In 2004, a popular initiative led to the adoption of article 123a of the Constitution. It mandates life imprisonment for extremely dangerous sex offenders and violent criminals.