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Prosecution Service Function within the Swiss Criminal Justice System

NCJ Number
European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research Volume: 14 Issue: 2-3 Dated: August 2008 Pages: 333-352
Gwladys Gillieron; Martin Killias
Date Published
August 2008
20 pages
The criminal justice system of Basel is described as an area example for Switzerland.
Switzerland consists of 26 cantons. Recently, they were responsible for the proceedings as well as for the organization of the courts. As a consequence, every canton still has its own criminal code of procedure. The applied inquiry models currently differ from canton to canton and can be divided into four basic models: the examining magistrate models I and II and the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) models I and II. In the Canton of Basel-Stadt, the PPS sticks fairly close to the German model. In the German system, the PPS is a body of the judicature responsible for enforcing the law and bound by the principle of legality. Beside the standard proceedings leading to a public charge, there are four special types of proceedings: Verzeigung procedure, direct levying of fines by police institutions, private action proceedings, and proceedings against absentees. The discussion about the unification of the criminal procedure law traces back to the time of inception of the Swiss Criminal Code in 1942. The draft of a Swiss Code of Criminal Procedure is based on the PPS model II. The decision in favor of this model has been influenced by the fact that all cantons or States, having amended their codes of procedure or having decided to do so, have adopted this model. This PPS model bears the advantage of achieving a high grade of efficiency of prosecution by realizing homogenous investigation, examination, and charging. In 2007, the general part of the Swiss Criminal Code became legally effective. However, evaluations of victim assistance centers in the years 1993-1998 have shown that a complete review of the code is necessary. Special attention is paid to the function of the PPS within this framework and its relationship to police and courts. Figure, tables, and references