Corruption

Switzerland plays an active role, both nationally and internationally, in the fight against corruption. To this end it has ratified various international agreements and established a broad-based interdepartmental working group.

The last 20 years have brought increased international awareness that corruption seriously damages governments, societies and economies and needs to be combated in a comprehensive manner. In recognition of this problem, three international conventions were concluded at the turn of the century and their implementation is monitored through country reviews. Moreover, one of the specific targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is to "substantially reduce corruption and bribery in all their forms". The international community has thus provided an important impetus for the prevention and combating of corruption at national level. At the same time, Switzerland is bringing its practical experience into the further development of international standards.

International agreements

  • United Nations Convention Against Corruption

On 24 September 2009, Switzerland ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption. This is the most comprehensive instrument for combating corruption at international level, both geographically and in terms of content.

Federal legislation, classified compilation: United Nations Convention against Corruption

  • OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions

Switzerland was instrumental in drawing up the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. Switzerland ratified the convention on 31 May 2000, having previously amended the Swiss Criminal Code. Active bribery of foreign public officials by companies or private individuals is thus a punishable offence.

Federal legislation, classified compilation: Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions

  • Council of Europe Criminal Law Convention on Corruption and Additional Protocol

Switzerland ratified the Council of Europe's Criminal Law Convention on Corruption and its additional protocol on 31 March 2006. Passive bribery of foreign public officials and private active as well as passive bribery were accordingly  declared punishable offences.

Federal legislation, classified compilation: Council of Europe Criminal Law Convention on Corruption

Federal legislation, classified compilation: Additional Protocol to the Criminal Law Convention on Corruption 

Country reviews in the fight against corruption

The states parties to the international anti-corruption conventions of the UN, the Council of Europe and the OECD mutually monitor implementation at national level. This puts political pressure on all states parties to comply equally with their obligations.

Like all other states parties, Switzerland participates in the review mechanisms. This means that it undergoes regular reviews by two other states selected at random and, in turn, reviews other states.

There are different rules for the different review mechanisms. What they have in common is that a report, which can also contain recommendations, is published at the end of each review. Switzerland's country reports are available on the websites of the international lead organisations:

UN – UNCAC

Council of Europe - GRECO

OECD

Combating corruption in Switzerland

In Switzerland, the implementation of international treaty obligations, the response to the recommendations, and the overall fight against corruption are cross-cutting tasks involving various federal offices and authorities at all levels. In order to supervise and coordinate this work, the Federal Council set up an Interdepartmental Working Group on Combating Corruption on 19 December 2008. The FDFA chairs and acts as the secretariat of the Interdepartmental Working Group on Combating Corruption.

FDFA: Interdepartmental Working Group on Combating Corruption