Swiss Criminal Code

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Swiss Criminal Code
Original title German: Strafgesetzbuch (StGB), French: Code pénal suisse (CP), Italian: Codice penale svizzero (CP), Romansh: Cudesch penal svizzer
Ratified 21 December 1937
Date effective 1 January 1942 (current version as of 1 July 2016)
Location SR 311.0
Author(s) Carl Stooss

The Swiss Criminal Code (SR 311, German: Strafgesetzbuch (StGB), French: Code pénal suisse (CP), Italian: Codice penale svizzero (CP), Romansh: Cudesch penal svizzer) is the criminal code in Swiss law. The original version was created on 21 December 1937. It entered into force on 1 January 1942. Current version is of 1 July 2016. Previously, criminal law had been a cantonal matter.[1][2]


The Swiss Criminal Code is based on an initial draft by Carl Stooss in 1893. He proposed one of the first criminal codes that included both punishment and preemptive, safeguard measures. The original code was approved by the people on 3 July 1938 in a referendum, with 358,438 voting in favor to 312,030 voting against. With its entry into force on 1 January 1942, all federal legislation that contradicted the new Criminal Code was abolished. This especially included the death penalty, which was still in force in some cantons, such as the canton of Valais. Moreover, the competences for substantive law was largely transferred from the cantons of the Confederation. The cantons retain only the competence on the regulations of cantonal procedural law and cantonal tax legislation and violations.

The code has been revised numerous times since 1942. The most recent revision (as of 2010), in effect since 2007, introduced the possibility to convert short prison sentences (below one year) into fines, calculated based on a daily rate which has to be established based on the "personal and economic situation of the convict at the time of the verdict", with an upper limit set at CHF 3000 per day of the sentence. Practically all prison sentences shorter than one year have since been converted into fines, conditional sentences (parole) to conditional fines. This has caused controversy because the result is that lighter offences not punishable by imprisonment always result in unconditional fines, while more severe offences now often result in conditional fines that do not need to be paid at all. The Federal Council in October 2010 announced its intention to revert to the earlier system, and all large parties expressed at least partial support.[3]


General provisions (articles 1-110 of the Criminal Code)

First Book: The first book lays down general provisions which apply to the following books ("General"). The first book contains provisions on:

  • Scope
  • Requirements of the offense (crimes and offenses, intent and negligence, lawful acts and blame, attempt, participation, criminality of the media agency relationships)
  • Criminal complaints
  • Sanctions and measures (fines, community service, imprisonment, conditional and partial probation, sentencing, decriminalization or termination of proceedings, therapeutic measures and custody, other measures)
  • Execution of Penalties
  • Probation, transfers and voluntary social care
  • Limitation
  • Control of the enterprise
  • Rules in violations
  • Definitions

Specific provisions (articles 111-332 of the Penal Code)

Second Book: This specifies what actions are punishable. The second book is divided into 20 titles that summarize the various crimes ("Special Section"):

  • Criminal acts against life and limb
  • Criminal acts against property
  • Criminal actions against the honor and the private sector
  • Crimes and crimes against freedom
  • Criminal acts against sexual integrity
  • Crimes and offenses against family
  • Community dangerous crimes and misdemeanors
  • Crimes and crimes against public health
  • Crimes and crimes against the public transport
  • Counterfeiting of currency, postage stamps, official marks, weights and measures
  • Forgery
  • Crimes and crimes against the public peace
  • Crimes against the interests of the international community
  • Crimes and crimes against the state and national defense
  • Crimes against the people's will
  • Offenses against public authority
  • Disruption of foreign relations
  • Crimes and offenses against the administration of justice
  • Offenses against the official and professional duty
  • Corruption
  • Violations of civil service legislation

Introduction and application of the law (articles 333-392 of the Penal Code)

Third Book: The third book mainly covers the powers of courts and defines the process requirements.

See also


Zürich University

  • Andreas Donatsch, Brigitte Tag: Strafrecht I, Verbrechenslehre - 8. Auflage; Zürich 2006
  • Christian Schwarzenegger, Markus Hug, Daniel Jositsch: Strafrecht II, Strafen und Massnahmen - 8. Auflage; Zürich 2007
  • Jörg Rehberg, Niklaus Schmid, Andreas Donatsch: Strafrecht III, Delikte gegen den Einzelnen - 8. Auflage; Zürich 2003
  • Andreas Donatsch, Wolfgang Wohlers: Strafrecht IV, Delikte gegen die Allgemeinheit - 3. Auflage; Zürich 2004

University of Bern

  • Günter Stratenwerth: Schweizerisches Strafrecht, Allgemeiner Teil: Die Straftat - 3. Auflage; Bern 2005
  • Günter Stratenwerth: Schweizerisches Strafrecht, Allgemeiner Teil II: Strafen und Massnahmen - 2. Auflage; Bern 2006
  • Guido Jenny, Günter Stratenwerth: Schweizerisches Strafrecht, Besonderer Teil I: Straftaten gegen Individualinteressen - 6. Auflage; Bern 2003

University of Basel

  • Niggli / Wiprächtiger (eds.), Basler Kommentar Strafrecht I + II («Basler Kommentar»), ISBN 978-3-7190-2660-8


  1. ^ "SR 311 Schweizerisches Strafgesetzbuch" (official website) (in German, French, and Italian). Berne, Switzerland. 10 September 2016. Retrieved 2016-09-14. 
  2. ^ "SR 311.0 Swiss Civil Code of 21 December 1937 (Status as of 1 July 2016)" (official website). Berne, Switzerland: Swiss Federal Council. 10 September 2016. Retrieved 2016-09-14. 
  3. ^ sda, ed. (29 October 2010). "Bedingte Geldstrafe bald abgeschafft?". 20 Minuten (in German). Zurich, Switzerland. Retrieved 2016-09-17. 

External links

  • English semi-official translation:
    • SR 311.0 Swiss Civil Code of 21 December 1937 (Status as of 1 July 2016), official website
    • Legal text of the StGB, reduced to its essence. (PDF-Datei; 596 kB) (in German)
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