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Switzerland: Referendum Bans Minarets

(Dec. 4, 2009) On November 29, 2009, the Swiss people approved a popular initiative that inserts into the Federal Constitution a new article 72, paragraph 3, that states, “[t]he construction of minarets is prohibited.” (Eidgenössische Volksinitiative 'Gegen den Bau von Minaretten,' Nov. 30, 2009, at http://www.admin.ch/ch/d/pore/vi/vis353t.html.) Some 53.4% of the electorate voted on the initiative, […]

Switzerland: Information on Tax Evasion

(Dec. 4, 2009) On November 17, 2009, the Swiss Federal Authorities gave a progress report on the processing of U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requests for information on the suspected tax evasion by U.S. residents who had banked with UBS AG, a Swiss bank (The Federal Authorities of the Swiss Confederation, UBS: Treaty Process on […]

France; Switzerland: Exchange of Bank Information for Tax Purposes

(June 25, 2009) On June 12, 2009, France and Switzerland agreed to amend their existing bilateral tax treaty by adding a provision that allows the exchange of bank information for tax purposes, bringing the treaty up to the standard of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Model Tax Convention (OECD, Centre for Tax […]

Switzerland: Census

(Apr. 1, 2009) On January 20, 2009, Switzerland promulgated a Census Regulation that became effective on February 1 (Volkszählungsverordnung, Dec. 19, 2008, Amtliche Sammlung des Bundesrechts 241 (2009), available at http://www.admin.ch/ch/d/as/2009/index0_3.html (click on page 241)). The Census Regulation implements the Census Act of 2007 (Volkszählungsgesetz, June 22, 2007, Systematische Sammlung des Bundesrechts No. 431.112, available […]

Switzerland: Succession of Cabinet Members

(Mar. 31, 2009) On January 21, 2009, Switzerland promulgated a Reform Act to the Parliamentary Act (Bundesgesetz über die Bundesversammlung (Parlamentsgesetz) Änderung, Oct. 3, 2008, Amtliche Sammlung des Bundesrechts 725 (2009), available at http://www.admin.ch/ch/d/as/2009/index0_5.html (click on page 725)). The Act became law on January 22, after the referendum period had expired, and it became effective […]

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 http://www.admin.ch/ch/d/as/2009/index0_5.html : yes”> (click on page 471)). The new provision is article 123b of the […]

Switzerland: Court Rules on Marcos Assets

(Jan. 15, 2009) On January 12, 2009, Switzerland's Federal Supreme Court ruled that assets deposited by an associate of Ferdinand Marcos, the former president of the Philippines, should be returned to the Philippines. The agency that will receive the funds is the Presidential Commission on Good Government of the Philippines (PCGG). The deposits amount to […]

European Union; Switzerland: Schengen Area Accession

(Jan. 12, 2009) The Schengen acquis (body of law) came into being in 1985 when the governments of Belgium, Germany, France, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands signed an agreement in Schengen, Luxembourg, to establish an area free of internal borders for nationals, goods, and services. In June 1990, the five original signatories signed the Convention that […]

Switzerland: Heavy Vehicle Tax

(May 2, 2008) On March 26, 2008, Switzerland promulgated amendments to the Heavy Vehicle Tax Act that enhance enforcement of the user fees imposed on heavy passenger cars and trucks and to the Heavy Vehicle Tax Regulation (Bundesgesetz, Oct. 5, 2007, AMTLICHE SAMMLUNG DES BUNDESRECHTS (AS) 765 (2008) & Verordnung, Mar. 7, 2008, AS 769 […]

Switzerland: Crime Victim Compensation

(Apr. 2, 2008) On April 8, 2008, Switzerland promulgated an Act on Crime Victim Compensation (Opferhilfegesetz, Mar. 23, 2007, AMTLICHE SAMMLUNG (AS) 1607 (2008)) that will become effective on January 1, 2009. The Act replaces the former Crime Victim Compensation Act of October 4, 1991 (AS 2465 (1992)) and contains some reforms. In particular, the […]