Legal Basis

Article 115 of the Swiss Federal Criminal Code (StGB) states that:

“Whoever, from selfish motives, induces another person to commit suicide or aids him in it, shall be confined in the penitentiary for not over five years, or in the prison, provided that the suicide has either been completed or attempted.”

In plain English that means: anyone who helps someone to commit suicide, providing they are not acting out of selfish motives, cannot be punished. „Selfish motives” would be, for example, if through assisting in suicide someone could inherit assets earlier or would get rid of a financial obligation of support. Yet, the fact that someone receives a normal financial compensation for assistance with suicide cannot fulfil the element of crime of “selfish motive”.

In the case of medically diagnosed hopeless or incurable illnesses, unbearable pain or unendurable disabilities, DIGNITAS offers its members the option of an accompanied suicide.

Naturally, each permitted use of a fatally effective medication requires a Swiss doctor’s prescription, for only by this means can the drug legally be procured.

DIGNITAS always establishes whether the pre-conditions to be complied with by DIGNITAS for assistance with suicide are met, and whether the wish to die reflects the settled and declared will of the member. In this, it is particularly important to determine whether the member’s capacity of discern­ment is impaired in any way, and whether anyone close to him/her, or third parties, are pushing the member towards suicide for any reason.



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