International asset recovery proceedings may be hindered by several obstacles, especially in the case of “failed states” or of states that experience a regime change. In this context, Switzerland, a country with extensive experience in asset recovery, attempted two legislative leaps forward, the first in 2011 and the second in 2016. The purpose of this paper is to critically examine the legislative innovations in Switzerland, with special reference to their strengths, weakness and compatibility with human rights standards.
This paper draws on legal scholarship, jurisprudence, reports and other open source data, to analyze two important legislative innovations in Switzerland [Law on the Restitution of Assets of Criminal Origin of 2010 (LRAI) and law on assets of illicit origin (LVP).
The two Swiss legislative initiatives that will be examined (LRAI and LVP) are innovative in nature, but serious weaknesses and obstacles to asset recovery remain unaddressed. Despite their flaws, these two legislative innovations can inspire positive change in international and national norms. They can be viewed as part of a work-in-progress for the reinforcement of asset recovery proceedings and international cooperation in this domain.
Since the new law on asset recovery (LVP) came into force (July 1, 2016), this has been the first study examining the strengths and weaknesses of the adopted text, its compatibility with human rights standards and its potential influence on international standards of asset recovery.
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