Women and Justice: Search

Schweizerisches Strafgesetzbuch/Swiss Penal Code, Article 264e: War Crimes Europe, Switzerland - Legislation - (2019)

Forced and early marriage, Forced sterilization, Gender violence in conflict, International law, Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement, Trafficking in persons

Art. 264e provides for a criminal penalty of not less than three years for any person who commits certain specified offenses in connection with an armed conflict, including (among other things) raping a person of the female gender protected by international humanitarian law or, after she has been forcibly made pregnant, confining her unlawfully with the intent of affecting the ethnic composition of a population, forcing a person to tolerate a sexual act of comparable severity or forcing a person protected by international humanitarian law into prostitution or to be sterilized.  In especially serious cases, and in particular where the offense affects a number of persons or the offender acts in a cruel manner, life imprisonment may be imposed. In less serious cases, imprisonment of not less than one year may be imposed. Unofficial English translation available here.



Schweizerisches Strafgesetzbuch/Swiss Penal Code, Article 264a: Crimes Against Humanity Europe, Switzerland - Legislation - (2019)

Forced and early marriage, Gender violence in conflict, International law, Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement, Trafficking in persons

Provides for a criminal penalty of not less than five years for any person who commits certain specified offenses as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, including (1) assuming and exercising a right of ownership over a person, in particular in the form of trafficking in persons, sexual exploitation or forced labor; and (2) raping a person of the female gender or, after she has been forcibly made pregnant, confining her unlawfully with the intent of affecting the ethnic composition of a population, forcing a person to tolerate a sexual act of comparable severity or forcing a person into prostitution or to be sterilized. Unofficial English translation available here.



Schweizerisches Strafgesetzbuch/Swiss Penal Code, Article 213: Incest Europe, Switzerland - Legislation - (2019)

Domestic and intimate partner violence, Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

Provides for criminal penalties of imprisonment for not more than three years or a monetary penalty for any person who has sexual intercourse with a blood relative in direct line or with a brother or sister, or a half-brother or half-sister.



Schweizerisches Strafgesetzbuch/Swiss Penal Code, Article 197: Aggravated Pornography Europe, Switzerland - Legislation - (2019)

Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

Provides for criminal penalties of imprisonment for not more than three years or a monetary penalty for, among other things, a person who recruits or causes a minor to participate in a pornographic performance, or for any person who produces, imports, stores, markets, advertises, exhibits, offers, shows, passes on or makes accessible to others or possesses pornography that contains sexual acts involving animals, acts of violence involving adults or non-genuine sexual acts with minors.  For pornography containing genuine sexual acts with minors, the penalty is imprisonment for not more than five years or a monetary penalty.  Criminal penalties are also provided for persons who obtain or produce such pornographic materials for their own use. Unofficial English translation available here.



Schweizerisches Strafgesetzbuch/Swiss Penal Code, Article 196: Sexual Acts with Minors Against Payment Europe, Switzerland - Legislation - (2019)

Statutory rape or defilement, Trafficking in persons

Provides for criminal penalties of imprisonment for not more than three years or a monetary penalty for any person who carries out sexual acts with a minor or induces a minor to carry out such acts in return for payment or promises of payment. Unofficial English translation available here



Schweizerisches Strafgesetzbuch/Swiss Penal Code, Articles 189 - 192: Offenses Against Sexual Liberty and Honor Europe, Switzerland - Legislation - (2019)

Sexual violence and rape

Art. 189 provides for criminal penalties of imprisonment for not more than 10 years or a monetary penalty for any person who uses threats, force or psychological pressure on another person or makes that other person incapable of resistance in order to compel him or her to tolerate a sexual act similar to intercourse or any other sexual act.  If the offender acts with cruelty, and if the offender used an offensive weapon or other dangerous object, the penalty is imprisonment for not less than three years. Art. 190 provides that a person can be sentenced to between 1 and 10 years in custody or a fine for using violence, threats, or psychological pressure to force a female to engage in a sexual act, or for making her incapable of resisting.  Art. 191 provides for criminal penalties of imprisonment for not more than 10 years or a monetary penalty for any person who, in the knowledge that another person is incapable of judgement or resistance, has sexual intercourse with, or commits an act similar to sexual intercourse or any other sexual act on, that person. Art. 192 provides for criminal penalties of imprisonment for not more than three years or a monetary penalty for any person who, by abusing a dependent relationship with a person in institutional care, an inmate of an institution, a prisoner, a detainee or a person on remand, induces the dependent person to commit or submit to a sexual act. Art. 193 provides for criminal penalties of imprisonment for not more than three years or a monetary penalty for any person who induces another to commit or submit to a sexual act by exploiting a position of need or a dependent relationship based on employment or another dependent relationship. Unofficial English translation available here.



Schweizerisches Strafgesetzbuch/Swiss Penal Code, Article 188: Endangering the Development of Minors/Sexual Acts with Dependent Persons Europe, Switzerland - Legislation - (2019)

Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement

Art. 188 provides for criminal penalties of imprisonment for not more than three years or a monetary penalty for any person who sexually exploits his or her relationship with a minor over the age of 16 (which is the age threshold for statutory rape under Penal Code Art. 187) who is dependent on him or her due to a relationship arising from the minor's education, care or employment or another form of dependent relationship, or for any person who encourages such a minor to commit a sexual act by exploiting such a relationship. Unofficial English translation available here.



Schweizerisches Strafgesetzbuch/Swiss Penal Code, Article 182: Trafficking in Human Beings Europe, Switzerland - Legislation - (2019)

Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement, Trafficking in persons

Art. 182 provides for criminal penalties of imprisonment or a monetary penalty for any person who as a supplier, intermediary or customer engages in the trafficking of a human being for the purpose of sexual exploitation, exploitation of his or her labor or for the purpose of removing an organ. If the victim is a minor or if the offender acts for commercial gain, the penalty is imprisonment for not less than one year.  In every case, a monetary penalty must also be imposed.  The statute also provides that the soliciting of a person for these purposes is equivalent to trafficking, and that any person who commits the act abroad is also guilty of an offense. Unofficial English translation available here.



Schweizerisches Strafgesetzbuch/Swiss Penal Code, Articles 118 and 119: Illegal Abortion and Legal Abortion Europe, Switzerland - Legislation - (2019)

Abortion and reproductive health rights

Art. 118 provides for criminal penalties of imprisonment for not more than five years or a monetary penalty for any person who terminates a pregnancy with the consent of the pregnant woman or incites or assists a pregnant woman to terminate her pregnancy without the requirements of Penal Code Art. 119 being met. Article 118 also provides for (1) imprisonment from one to 10 years for any person who terminates a pregnancy without the consent of the pregnant woman, and (2) imprisonment for not more than three years or a monetary penalty for any woman who has her pregnancy terminated or otherwise participates in the termination of her pregnancy following the end of the twelfth week and without the requirements of Penal Code Art. 119 being met. Article 119 provides the requirements for legal abortion. The termination is, in the judgment of a physician, necessary in order to be able to prevent the pregnant woman from sustaining serious physical injury or serious psychological distress. The risk must be greater the more advanced the pregnancy is, or the termination must be performed (1) at the written request of a pregnant woman within 12 weeks of the start of the woman’s last period, (2) by a physician who is licensed to practice his profession, and (3) the woman claims that she is in a state of distress. The physician must have a detailed consultation with the woman prior to the termination and provide her with appropriate counsel. If the woman is incapable of judgment, the consent of her legal representative is required. The statute directs the Swiss Cantons to designate the medical practices and hospitals that fulfill the requirements for the professional conduct of procedures to terminate pregnancy and for the provision of counsel. Unofficial English translation available here.



Schweizerisches Strafgesetzbuch/Swiss Penal Code, Article 67: Prohibition on carrying on an activity involving regular contact with minors following sentencing for certain offenses Europe, Switzerland - Legislation - (2019)

Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement, Trafficking in persons

This article provides that a person who is sentenced to a custodial sentence of more than six months or to indefinite incarceration or involuntary commitment for offenses committed during the exercise of a professional activity or organized non-professional activity shall be prohibited from carrying on the exercise when it involves regular contact with any minors for 10 years. The offenses include: statutory rape or other child sexual abuse, rape and sexual coercion, child pornography, encouraging prostitution, and human trafficking. Unofficial English translation available here.



Schweizerisches Strafgesetzbuch/Swiss Penal Code, Article 66a: Mandatory expulsion of foreign nationals for female genital mutilation and certain other offenses Europe, Switzerland - Legislation - (2019)

Female genital mutilation or female genital cutting, International law, Sexual violence and rape, Statutory rape or defilement, Trafficking in persons

Article 66a provides that a foreign national shall be expelled from Switzerland for a period of five to 15 years if they are convicted of, among other things, female genital mutilation (Penal Code Art. 124, para. 1), forced marriage or forced registered partnership (Penal Code Art. 181a), trafficking in human beings (Penal Art. 182), sexual acts with children (Penal Code Art. 187, para. 1), sexual coercion (Art. 189), rape (Art. 190), sexual acts with persons incapable of judgement or resistance (Art. 191), encouraging prostitution (Art. 195), aggravated pornography (Art. 197, para. 4, second sentence – pornography containing genuine sexual acts with minors), genocide (Art. 264), crimes against humanity (Art. 264a), serious violations of the Geneva Convention of 1949 (Art. 264c), and other war crimes (Art. 264d and 264h). Unofficial English translation available here



Schweizerisches Strafgesetzbuch/Swiss Penal Code, Article 5: Offenses against minors Europe, Switzerland - Legislation - (2019)

Statutory rape or defilement, Trafficking in persons

Art. 5 provides that the Swiss Penal Code also applies to any person who is in Switzerland, is not being extradited, and has committed any of the following offenses abroad: (1) Trafficking in human beings (Penal Code Art. 182), sexual coercion (Penal Code Art. 189), rape (Penal Code Art. 190), sexual acts with a person incapable of proper judgment or resistance (Penal Code Art. 191) or encouraging prostitution (Penal Code Art. 195) if the victim was less than 18 years of age; (2) sexual acts with dependent persons (Penal Code Art. 188) and sexual acts with minors against payment (Penal Code Art. 196); (3) sexual acts with a child (Penal Code Art. 187) and sexual acts with a minor of age less than 14; or (4) aggravated pornography (Penal Code Art. 197, para. 3 and 4) if the objects or representations depict sexual acts with minors. Unofficial English translation available here.



Straftwek van België/Code pénal de Belgique (Criminal Code of Belgium) Europe, Belgium - Legislation -

Female genital mutilation or female genital cutting

Article 409 of the Belgian Criminal Code criminalizes (i) the execution or facilitation of female genital mutilation which is penalized with imprisonment, ranging from three to five years, and (ii) the attempt, incitement, advertising or the spreading of advertisements, which is penalized with imprisonment ranging from eight days to one year. The Article includes several aggravating circumstances, which will increase the severity of the punishment.



X. v. Y. Europe, Belgium, Bruxelles - Domestic Case Law - Cour du travail de Bruxelles (Brussels Labor Court) (2017)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

A woman informed her employer of the fact that she was pregnant. Two months later, her employer fired her due to alleged restructuring of the company. Subsequently, the appellant started proceedings before the Court to receive an indemnity.  The appellant claims that she has a right of indemnity based on the right of pregnant women to be protected against redundancy or, following the right to be protected against discrimination. The court held for the appellant and ordered the previous employer to pay the appellant a sum of EUR 33,135.00 and EUR 703.24 and to deliver to the appellant requested social documents.



Z.D.C. v. E.M.S. Europe, Belgium, Antwerpen - Domestic Case Law - Rechtbank van eerste aanleg te Antwerpen (Court of First Instance in Antwerp) (2017)

Domestic and intimate partner violence, LGBTIQ

The two accused were prosecuted for invading the home of the two victims and assaulting them, which temporarily prevented the victims from being able to work. The first accused organized the crime because she could neither accept the breakup with one of the victims nor the fact that the victim was in a relationship with a man. Additionally, the first accused created a false Facebook profile to make fun of one victim’s sexual orientation and to convince one victim to break up with the other. The Court found that the motive of the crime was, among others, the sexual orientation of the victims, which is an aggravating circumstance of the assault. The Court found that the facts regarding the first accused had been clearly established. However, the interrogation and the investigation did not provide the court with enough evidence to hold the second accused criminally liable. The Court convicted the first accused and imposed a sentence of three years imprisonment and a fine of EUR 100.00 (increased with the multiplication factor of 50, i.e., in total EUR 5000), but suspended for five years if the accused complied with the terms of probation.



Public Prosecutor v. S.C. Europe, Belgium - Domestic Case Law - Rechtbank van eerste aanleg West-Vlaanderen afdeling Brugge sectie correctionele rechtbank (Bruges Criminal Court) (2018)

Gender-based violence in general, LGBTIQ

The accused was prosecuted for assaulting a trans woman and her partner for being transsexual. The accused confessed to calling the victim and her partner “dirty transsexuals” and assaulting them. Following the assault, a doctor determined that the victim was unable to work. The Court found that the facts were uncontested and therefore proven. According to the Court, the accused showed a lack of respect for social norms and the physical integrity of other human beings. Additionally, the Court found the punishment should reflect that the crime was based on the victim’s transsexual status and that the punishment should serve to have a strong deterrent effect. The court convicted the accused and imposed a sentence of  six months imprisonment and a fine of EUR 100.00 (increased with the multiplication factor of 50 (i.e., in total EUR 5000))which would be suspended during three years if the accused obeyed the terms of probation.



RRT Case No. 1101038 Australia and Oceania, Australia, Sydney - Domestic Case Law - Refugee Review Tribunal (2011)

Female genital mutilation or female genital cutting, Forced and early marriage, Harmful traditional practices

The applicant appealed a decision denying her a protection visa. The applicant demonstrated evidence that if she returned to Uganda, she would be forced to undergo FGM.  The applicant was a member of the Sabiny tribe, meaning her father’s family had the right under Ugandan law to take her away from her mother and compel her to obey traditional practices, including FGM. She further testified that if she returned to Uganda there would be a risk of abuse as she was a Christian, which was not accepted in her family village. Furthermore, when she was 12, her family found a potential husband for her, a witchdoctor who believed in Satan and professed sacrificing people to achieve a particular objective. She was therefore afraid that if she returned to Uganda, she would be forced to marry this individual, who believed that sacrificing people could bring him power and money. The tribunal found that the applicant was a person to whom Australia owed protection obligations.



RRT Case No. 0808751 Australia and Oceania, Australia, Sydney - Domestic Case Law - Refugee Review Tribunal (2009)

Female genital mutilation or female genital cutting, Harmful traditional practices

The applicant sought a review of a decision to refuse her a protection visa under s65 of the Migration Act 1958. The application was refused because the applicant was allegedly not a person to whom Australia had protection obligations arising out of the Refugees Convention. The tribunal investigated the history of the victim and her claims of substantial risk of being forced to undergo FGM if she returned to Uganda. The evidence presented included the fact that the process is not illegal in Uganda, that her father is relatively high-ranking in a tribe that finds FGM extremely important, and that she has in the past been abducted in order to be forced to undergo the process. She changed schools and stayed with relatives, but those means of escape have not worked as eventually her father and his tribe were always able to find her. As such, the tribunal concluded that there was a risk of serious harm if the applicant were forced to return to Uganda. It also concluded that she does satisfy the s36(2)(a) of the Migration Act and was therefore a person to whom Australia has protection obligations.



The Queen v. Kilic Australia and Oceania, Australia - Domestic Case Law - High Court of Australia (2016)

Domestic and intimate partner violence

This domestic violence case involved an appeal against a sentencing decision. The defendant set fire to the victim when she was 12 weeks pregnant and caused serious injury. After the attack, she terminated her pregnancy due to the permanent nature of her injuries. The trial court sentenced him to 15 years imprisonment. On appeal by the defendant, the Court of Appeal decided that this was “manifestly excessive” compared to other cases of serious injury by fire and resentenced the defendant to 10 years and six months imprisonment. On appeal by the prosecution, the High Court of Australia held that the Court of Appeal had erred in decreasing the sentence and pointed out that there were not enough comparable cases of intentionally causing serious injury by fire and the few cases mentioned could not establish a sentencing pattern.



The State of New South Wales v. Amery Australia and Oceania, Australia - Domestic Case Law - High Court of Australia (2006)

Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

The policy and practice of the New South Wales Department of Education and Training restricted pay scales of temporary teachers to level 8, which excluded temporary staff from the highest level of pay. The applicants, 13 female temporary teachers, sued, arguing that only permanent staff had access to the highest pay rates and that there was a gender imbalance between permanent and temporary teachers. Of the 13 female teachers, 11 took temporary rather than permanent positions due to family responsibilities and two applied for permanent positions, but those two, due to family reasons, limited the areas in which they could work. The court considered that making over-award payments to only women would be discriminatory against men, whereas the second option of making over-award payments to those who had family commitments would be difficult to formulate and to apply in practice. As such, the court held that there was no indirect discrimination.