Anita Chaaban & Doris Vetsch – Switzerland

In February 2004 the Swiss people voted an initiative for lifelong imprisonment for sentencing of dangerous recidivist criminals. The people’s initiative was launched by a group of crime victims and families of victims. They collected over 194,000 signatures, almost double the number required to submit an initiative.

Anita Chaaban & Doris Vetsch – Switzerland

Those behind the initiative, like Anita Chaaban and Doris Vetsch, which had the backing of the rightwing People’s Party, wanted offenders found guilty of sexual and violent crimes to be handed lifelong sentences if they failed a one-off psychological assessment at the time of conviction.

Although the government, including Justice Minister Christoph Blocher, rejected the proposals contained in last year’s initiative, the public approved them in a referendum.

Now, the government says a new law on lifelong imprisonment will not allow retrospective sentencing, to comply with the European convention on human rights. In drawing up the legislation, the government has to negotiate a path between the initiative campaigners, who threatened to force another referendum on the issue, and the advice of legal experts. “We cannot accept the transformation of our proposal, as envisaged by the government,” the president of the committee Anita Chaaban said.

According to a government statement, the new law will allow “society to be better protected against very dangerous and untreatable offenders, without contravening the principles of the European Convention on Human Rights”.

The text, which still has to be examined by parliament, determines a list of offences where a penalty of life imprisonment may be applied. These crimes include assassination, murder, grievous bodily harm, armed robbery, rape, illegal confinement or kidnap. Human trafficking and genocide have been added to the list, in addition to the crimes mentioned in the initiative.

The journal Beobachter has given a price of 10′000.-Swiss Francs, voted by their readers, for Anita Chaaban and Doris Vetsch.

Last minute: Anita Chaaban and her fellows insist with a second popular initiative against the federal counsil’s decision.

My comment: why is it so difficult to accept lifelong imprisonment of dangerous recidivist criminals?

We were able to condemn Nazi criminals at Nürnberg, we accept many lifelong sentences, and all above mentionned crimes made by persons with no regard for their felows shall be let free again? We have here in Switzerland Psychologues stating giving no advise for lifelong emprisonnement, as they cannot accept such a sentence for any human. And what about the victims? Does any one of these so sensible psychologues are thinking at the victims and their families?


german links

Kath. Kirche/catolic church und diese Seite;


swissinfo für Auslandschweizer;





Vermisste Kinder;

Leserbrief in Freiheits-Partei

french links



italian link

italian bluewin page;

english link

NZZ online;

Herald Tribune;

Guardian unlimited;

Daniel Pipes;


Seattle Times;

neederlands link


Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.