Re Birndörfer

Date12 février 1921
Docket NumberCase No. 199
CourtFederal Supreme Court (Switzerland)
Switzerland, Federal Court.
Case No. 199
In re Birndörfer.

Extradition — Delivery of Objects Connected with the Case Extraditable Offence.

The Facts.—The German authorities asked for the extradition of the Hotel Manager Birndörfer, who was accused of having bribed police officials in order to frustrate a search in the hotel premises for goods acquired by illicit secret traffic.

Held: That extradition on account of bribery (Article 1 (22) of the Extradition Treaty with Germany) must be granted, but that delivery of the money and other objects found on the prisoner must be refused.1 The first sentence of Article 92 of the German-Swiss Extradition Treaty seemed prima facie to support the argument that the extradition is to include all objects found in the possession of the accused irrespective of their connection with the offence for which extradition is sought. This had been the practice of the Federal Council in cases which it had dealt with directly in the absence of opposition. However, the Federal Court adopted in the cases of Platten and Pietsch (B.G.E., 31,I, p. 694; 34,I, p. 368) a restrictive interpretation, and allowed the delivery of objects only if they had some connection, immediate or remote, with the offence for which extradition was sought. This attitude was not only compatible with the text of the Treaty, but was also in harmony with the nature of extradition and the development of the law of extradition as laid down in the Swiss Extradition Act of 1892 and in the latest extradition treaties. There was no practical objection to a decision on these lines.

1 The case came before the Federal Court in the following way: The German request for extradition was directed to the Federal Council, which had the accused interrogated. In the course of the interrogation the accused was asked—in accordance with Article 21, paragraph 2, of the Federal Law of 22...

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