N v Public Prosecutor of the Canton of Aargau

Date29 mai 1953
CourtCourt of Cassation (Switzerland)
Switzerland, Cour de Cassation.
Public Prosecutor of the Canton of Aargau.

State Succession —Treaties — Extradition Treaties.

Extradition — Political Offences — Fiscal Offences — Fiscal Offences Committed in Conjunction with Other Offences — State Succession — Treaties — Extradition Treaties.

Extradition — Conditions of — Absence of Extradition Treaty — Extraditable Offences — Fiscal Offences — Fiscal Offences Committed in Conjunction with other Offences — State Succession — Treaties — Extradition Treaties.

The Facts.—N., a Swiss national, lived in Czechoslovakia during the years 1948 and 1949. During that time he obtained some 500,000 Czech crowns from various persons by means of promises that he would place the equivalent at their disposal abroad, knowing that he would never do so. On his return to Switzerland, he was sentenced in the Canton of Aargau for fraud, Czech law being applied. He now sought to obtain the annulment of the conviction. It was contended on his behalf that he could be sentenced for the offences committed in Czechoslovakia only if, as an alien, he could be extradited for the offences in question, and that an alien could not have been extradited, first, because there was no extradition treaty, and secondly, because the offences were fiscal in character.

Held: that the conviction must stand. Swiss law permitted extradition in the absence of a treaty. The fact that an extraditable offence also constitutes a fiscal offence did not exclude extradition.

The Court said: “Under Article 6 (1) of the Swiss Penal Code a Swiss national can be prosecuted in Switzerland for an offence committed abroad only if Swiss law permits extradition for the offence in question; for punishment in Switzerland is a substitute for the extradition of Swiss nationals and cannot, unless Swiss nationals are to be placed in a position inferior to that of aliens, take place in cases in which Swiss law would prohibit the extradition of the alien.

“Switzerland has not concluded an extradition treaty with Czechoslovakia. Moreover, the Extradition Treaty between Switzerland and Austria-Hungary cannot, as the Federal Council stated in 1920 in reply to a request for extradition, be applied without more to Czechoslovakia as successor State (BBL., 1921, II, 350). However, that is...

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