Impact of Covid-19 on criminal proceedings – Update29 April 2020 By Marc Henzelin, Deborah Hondius, Simine Sheybani, Adam El-Hakim
On 21 March 2020, the Swiss Federal Government promulgated the Ordinance on the suspension of time periods in civil and administrative proceedings to provide for the discharge of justice during the current Covid-19 crisis. On 9 April 2020, the Swiss Federal Government announced that the suspension of time periods in civil and administrative proceedings was not to be extended beyond 19 April 2020 (i.e. beyond the end of Easter judicial recess).
Conversely, the Swiss Federal Government did not issue any nationwide directives with respect to the conduct of criminal proceedings. A legal uncertainty thus arises for all involved parties and their respective counsel, as individual criminal prosecution authorities (be it at a federal or cantonal level) are, for the time being, left to make their own determinations on these issues. While some public authorities have already made their determinations and published the same via official communications, others have not.
The Swiss Federal Government however announced some new developments on 9 April 2020 with respect to the statutes of limitation in criminal matters and some recommendations on 16 April 2020 with respect to the conduct of criminal proceedings, which will be addressed below under Section 4.
The present contribution provides an overview of the information available so far with respect to the current practices of some criminal prosecution authorities within the Covid-19 context, and further addresses other issues and related recommendations of interest to every practitioner.
This contribution will be updated regularly, as and when information becomes available.
The full article is available here.