The war in Ukraine illustrates one of four priorities defined by the new federal prosecutor after more than 100 days in office. After years of problems, then a long interim period, the MPC is working well, Stefan Blättler told the media.
At the head of the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Confederation (MPC), the 62-year-old former commander of the Bernese police has wanted to work in reactivity and networking since January 1. As proof, the swift establishment of a task force to respond competently to the war in Ukraine, by ensuring that all refugees arriving in Switzerland are impeccable at this level or that no one is circumventing sanctions.
Prosecuting war crimes or crimes against humanity is one of the MPC’s remit and Stefan Blättler wanted to make it one of his priorities before February 24, he told media on Friday. “We have a duty in this area, if only because Switzerland is the custodian of international (Geneva) treaties”.
The procedures are often long and complex. And Mr Blättler cited the example of the Liberian soldier who was recently tried in Bellinzona after 20 years.
Mutual legal assistance procedures are often the cause. Last year was even more difficult due to the pandemic. It is mutual aid that has suffered the most from the Covid, Assistant Prosecutor Jacques Rayroud said. But mainly thanks to video conferencing, the MPC was able to process 250 requests from abroad and send 220 to other countries by 2021, he said.
Another priority that the MPC has worked hard on is the fight against criminal organisations. It must be said that Switzerland is an attractive country for them, according to the public prosecutor. Most chefs are abroad, especially in Italy, which implies international collaboration and networking. Stefan Blättler has already traveled twice to Rome and Milan in March.
Third priority determined by the head of the MPC, economic crime, with international corruption and money laundering. “We can make our contribution to a strong Swiss financial center,” said Stefan Blättler. This department is by far the most staffed of the MPC, even though it is only competent for serious cases. Cooperation with the cantons is also essential.
Cybercrime is part of this division, which has had a specialized team since 2021. After all, the MPC has to constantly adapt.
Ruedi Montanari, deputy prosecutor, noted: for many aspects it would be a matter of amending the law so that the MPC focuses on the big complex or international cases, but small cases of explosives or fights on the train at the cantons leaves. An opinion shared by Mr Rayroud: “even if it had a trim last year, it is necessary to review an outdated law on several aspects”.
Well organized team
Terrorism, with its many facets, is the new prosecutor’s fourth priority. There too, “we must be proactive in cooperation with the cantons and cooperate with other countries. Cooperation at home and abroad is important here.
In a federal prosecutor’s office that has gone through difficult years, Stefan Blättler has found a “functioning, well-motivated and qualified team”. It is newly organized with new requirements, but it is essential to continuously adapt, with flexibility and by using skills where they are, inside or outside the MPC, with the cantons or counterparts abroad.
The past is no longer a subject
The federal public prosecutor sees no need to reorganize the public prosecutor’s office, except for a few adjustments in, for example, the internal staff allocation. “The past is no longer a subject,” he said. Informal meetings with FIFA head Gianni Infantino had proved fatal for former Confederation Attorney General Michael Lauber. He left his position in mid-2020 under pressure from public opinion and the political world.
Stefan Blättler will not talk about the past, which does not interest him, and wants to look to the future, he emphasized several times on Friday. In the past, he only wanted to exonerate his two deputies, Jacques Rayroud and Ruedi Montanari, who were by his side.
These already worked under Lauber and led the federal prosecutor’s office ad interim a year and a half after his departure. “They have done their job well,” said Mr Blätter. This is also apparent from the current report of the supervisory authority of the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office (AS-MPC).
This article has been published automatically. source: ats