Principles of Military Criminal Law

Levels of application of the Military Criminal Code 

The Military Criminal Code takes as its basis the commission of a criminal offence in times of peace. It applies in principle to all persons who are on compulsory military service or performing military duties when not on military service, as well as to certain other groups of people.

However, as soon as the state and its armed forces are under serious threat, the material and personal scope of the Code is extended. Thus, for example, employees of businesses that are important to the National Supply may become subject to the provisions of the Military Criminal Code. In addition, a wider range of acts become criminal offences when on active service and in times of war and the existing potential penalties are increased.

Military criminal law and civilian criminal law

The scope of application of the military criminal law is limited to the armed forces and the Border Guard and their organisations and to the members of the national security services. The list of offences therefore does not include typical civilian crimes, such as crimes against the family, offences against official or professional duties, or debt collection and bankruptcy frauds. If a member the armed forces or member of the Border Guard commits a crime of this type during his term of service, he will remain subject to the civilian criminal code and to the jurisdiction of the civilian courts.

Formular 22.001 Untersuchungsbefehl 


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Office of the Armed Forces Attorney General

Maulbeerstrasse 9
CH-3003 Bern

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