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Germany: East German Stasi Harassment of Emigres Revealed in Files

(Mar. 26, 2013) More than 20 years after the fall of the Berlin wall, the wrongdoings of the Staatssicherheitsdienst, the East German secret police agency commonly known as Stasi, continue to be uncovered through research in the files of the agency that were preserved after the demise of the East German regime. In January 2013, […]

Austria: Popular Vote Retains Military Conscription

(Feb. 5, 2013) On January 20, 2013, Austrians voted on whether to retain military conscription or establish a paid career army instead. With 59.7% of the voters upholding the current system and a voter participation of close to 52%, the voters strongly rejected the abolition of a conscripted army. (Bundesministerium für Inneres, Volksbefragung 2013 (last […]

Germany: Right-Wing Extremist Database Proposed

(Feb. 8, 2012) On January 18, 2012, the Federal Cabinet submitted a draft law to the German Parliament that proposes the creation of a database on right-wing extremists (Gesetzesentwurf der Bundesregierung, Rechtsextremismus-Datei-Gesetz, Bundesrat Drucksache 31/12 (Jan. 20, 2012), German Parliament website). The Federal Ministry of the Interior had drafted this legislation in response to the […]

Switzerland: Military Conscription

(Oct. 5, 2011) On October 3, 2011, the Federal Commission for Childhood and Youth Issues (Eidgenössische Kommission für Kinder- und Jugendfragen (last visited Oct. 4, 2011)) published a report entitled A Service for the Public Welfare (Ein Dienst für das Gemeinwohl) (Oct. 2011)) in which it recommended replacing military conscription with a system that would […]

Germany: Tax Credit for Dividends (the Meilicke II Decision)

(July 18, 2011) On June 30, 2011, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) issued a second preliminary ruling for the German referring court in the Meilicke case (Case No. C-262/09, ECJ website (June 30, 2011), search by case no., hereafter Meilicke II). This decision reaffirms the holding of Meilicke I (Case No.C-292/04, ECJ website (Mar. […]

Germany: Post-Punishment Detention

(July 15, 2011) In Germany, dangerous criminals may be kept under detention after they have served their prison sentences, if there is reason to fear that they would commit further offenses after being released. This type of preventive detention is governed by sections 66, 66a, and 66b of the Penal Code (Strafgesetzbuch, repromulgated Nov. 13, […]

Germany: Dawes and Young Plan Bonds Paid Off

(Oct. 28, 2010) On October 1, 2010, Germany paid off the last residual interest payments of the bond issues through which the Dawes and Young plans were privatized, thereby making its last payments on reparations imposed after World War I (Die letzte Rate von Versailles – Deutschland hat abbezahlt, FRANKFURTER ALLGEMEINE ZEITUNG, Oct. 2, 2010, […]

Austria: Extradition and Family Unification Rights Balanced

(Oct. 28, 2010) On August 24, 2010, the Austrian Supreme Court (Oberster Gerichtshof (OGH)) ruled in favor of extraditing a fugitive to Macedonia by holding that his extradition did not violate European Union family unification standards (OGH, Aug. 24, 2010, 14 Os 87/10s, Rechtsdatenbank online subscription database, http://www.rdb.at). Macedonia had requested extradition so that the […]

Switzerland: Fees for Exchange of Tax Information Proposed

(Oct. 21, 2010) On October 18, 2010, the Finance Committee of the National Council (Nationalrat), the representative chamber of the Swiss bicameral Parliament, submitted a motion to the Federal Council (Bundesrat), the executive branch of the Swiss government, requesting that a law be drafted that would allow the Swiss government to recover extraordinary expenses from […]

Switzerland: Decriminalization of Narcotics Consumption Proposed

(Oct. 20, 2010) On October, 15, 2010, the Committee for Social Security and Health of the National Council (Nationalrat), the representative chamber of the bicameral Swiss Parliament, resolved to initiate the legislative process for amending the Narcotics Act (Betäbungsmittelgesetz, Oct. 3, 1951, Systematische Sammlung des Bundesrechts No. 812.121, http://www.admin.ch/ch/d/sr/c812_121.html). The purpose of this proposed reform […]