Public Prosecutor v Glarner

JurisdictionSuiza
CourtCourt of Cassation (Switzerland)
Switzerland, Court of Cassation of the Canton of Geneva.
Ministère Public Fédéral
and
Glarner.

Treaties — Interpretation of — Consideration of preparatory work — Convention on Suppression of Counterfeiting Currency, 1929, Article 2 — Intention of Parties as to disposal of counterfeit currency — The law of Switzerland.

Treaties — Operation and enforcement of — Relation to municipal law — Self-executing provisions — Whether provision to be executed by courts or by administrative authorities — Convention on Suppression of Counterfeiting Currency, 1929, Article 11 — Intention of Parties as to disposal of counterfeit currency — The law of Switzerland.

The Facts.—One Marcel-Alfred Glarner was sentenced on January 26, 1962, to three years' imprisonment for uttering counterfeit currency. The Court ordered the confiscation of the counterfeit currency—false sovereigns—and stated that, in conformity with Article 11 of the Convention of April 20, 1929, on the Suppression of Counterfeiting Currency, the sovereigns would be handed over to the British Government for the purpose of being rendered incapable of use. The Ministère public fédéral (Federal Public Prosecutor) contested that part of the judgment on the ground that Article 11 of the Convention did not lay down a rule of law enforceable by Swiss Courts. The case went on appeal to the Court of Cassation.

Held: that the judgment of the Criminal Court must be confirmed. It was in accordance with the provisions of international law and of domestic law, and properly ordered that the false sovereigns be confiscated and rendered incapable of use. However, the execution of the order, the handing over of the coins, was not a matter for the courts. Article 11 of the Convention provided for an administrative measure which did not fall within the competence of the courts.

The Court said: “The Ministère public fédéral argues, first, that Article 11 of the Convention, concerning the handing over of the counterfeit currency to the Government which issues the genuine coins, does not constitute a rule of municipal law for the Contracting States, and that the only requirement is that in any event the counterfeit currency should be rendered incapable of use.

“It may be noted, as throwing light on the question at issue, that Article 1, paragraph VII, of the Draft Convention on the Suppression of Counterfeiting Currency, which later became Article 11 of the Convention, was drafted in the same terms as the latter article:

‘Counterfeit...

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