The public showing of Nazi symbols should be banned. The Legal Commission of the National Council has spoken out in favor of this. (icon picture)
Banning racist and discriminatory symbols is always up for discussion. But so far the request has always been unsuccessful. Probably also because the effectiveness of a ban is disputed. On Friday, an expert warned that bans could give a false sense of security, among other things.
But now there is movement. Based on two initiatives, the Legal Commission of the National Council has come to the conclusion that there is a need for action. She “considers it necessary to take stronger action against the use and dissemination of Nazi symbols,” says the media release.
Special law should come
She proposes a special law so that violations of the ban can be punished. With 12 to 11 votes, she spoke out in favor of a corresponding Commission initiative.
In doing so, she opposes the position of the Federal Council. Last year, he spoke out against a general ban on Nazi symbolism in public and recommended rejecting a corresponding demand from Central National Councilor Marianne Binder-Keller (64). Because: According to the Federal Council, prevention is better suited as an antidote than punishment.
Nazi symbols only punishable for advertising purposes
So far, such symbols have only been banned to advertise an inhuman ideology. But that means that a Hitler salute, for example, can go unpunished.
For example, when the Hitler salute was shown several times at an event organized by the party of nationally oriented Swiss (Pnos) on the Rütli in 2010, the Federal Supreme Court ruled against a penalty because it was not propaganda aimed at third parties.
The military judiciary also saw no criminal offense in several instances when an officer of the Swisscoy force in Kosovo showed Nazi gestures in 2017. It was only in 2021 that the Military Court of Cassation ruled that the offense of racial discrimination had been met.
General ban demanded
Such gray areas should no longer exist in the future. Two initiatives provided the impetus for the proposal for special legislation: one by SP National Councilor Angelo Barrile (46) and one by SP National Councilor Gabriela Suter (50). Both call for a general ban on racially discriminatory symbols.
But although both proposals are very similar, only Barrile’s was approved by a vote of 12 to 11. Because this could be implemented with such special legislation.
The problem with the list
However, such a special law would also have disadvantages. It would include an exhaustive list of prohibited symbols, such as certain Nazi symbols.
«The restriction to a certain ideology is problematic for my sense of justice. It can’t be that Nazi symbols are banned, but those of the Ku Klux Klan, for example, can continue to be used publicly,” says Suter.
In addition: A list of banned Nazi symbols leads to the problem that other ideological symbols that are not on the list can be used instead. Suter therefore demands that the criminal law, which is already in effect when propaganda purposes are being pursued, should be expanded in any case.
“It’s better to take a first step than not to move at all”
She will still support the Commission’s proposal, says Suter: “It’s better to take a first step than no movement at all.” But she fears that Nazi symbols will simply be banned, if at all, without the next step being to include other inhuman and discriminatory symbols.
Which solution will come into play is not yet set in stone. The decision of the National Council Commission was very close. Her proposal was rejected by 11 votes to 10 with one abstention. “From my point of view, the outcome in the Council of States Commission and in the Council is completely open,” said Suter.