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Practice areas | Providing advice and support to foreign requesting authorities

Providing advice and support to foreign requesting authorities

as well as to persons concerned and affected third parties throughout the procedures involved in provision of international mutual legal assistance in criminal matters
Technological developments (IT, transport, communications, etc.) and increased mobility of capital are leading to an increase in the number of criminal cases with an international dimension.

International mutual legal assistance in criminal matters concerns cooperation between Swiss authorities and foreign prosecution authorities, particularly in the search for evidence (hearing of witnesses and accused persons; seizure and delivery of exhibits, documents, objects or assets; search and confiscation; confrontation of persons); seizure and delivery of assets; extradition procedures; and formal notification of documents (summons, judgments and other judicial acts).
Art. 271 of the Swiss Criminal Code (SCC) prohibits carrying out activities on behalf of a foreign state on Swiss territory without lawful authority, where such activities are the responsibility of a public authority or public official. Similarly, Switzerland cannot violate the sovereignty of a foreign state for the purposes of criminal proceedings conducted by its authorities.

The execution of investigative acts or the notification of decisions in Switzerland on behalf of a foreign authority, or abroad on behalf of a Swiss authority, is therefore possible only within the framework of a mutual legal assistance procedure.

Switzerland is a party to numerous bilateral conventions and international treaties that determine the conditions under which mutual legal assistance may be granted between the States Parties.

In the absence of an international treaty, the Federal Law on International Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters exclusively determines the conditions under which assistance may be granted to a foreign state. The International Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters also applies if existing cooperation agreements do not expressly or implicitly provide for another solution.

A perfect understanding of matters concerning mutual legal assistance and its particularities is essential in order to be able to deal effectively in the mutual assistance procedure; provide accompanying measures for the implementation of the required mutual assistance; ensure that the cardinal principles of cooperation are respected and to guarantee respect for the rights of the parties, particularly those of the defence.

The procedures involved in international mutual legal assistance in criminal matters are based on specific principles and involves a complex and very powerful mechanism of cooperation tools. Watt law supports and advises you at every stage.