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Suicide Assistance Prohibition in Austria: DIGNITAS initiates constitutional action

The Swiss association DIGNITAS has instructed an Austrian lawyer to bring an action before the Austrian Constitutional Court. The purpose of the procedure is

to review the constitutionality of the existing criminal law provisions regarding suicide assistance in Austria. Austria knows one of the most rigorous prohibition systems against suicide assistance. A special aspect of this system is that it also prohibits its citizens to help other citizens to perform suicide abroad.  


At the same time, the Constitutional Court is being asked for a so-called preliminary ruling procedure before the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg. In this preliminary ruling procedure, the European Court is asked to reach a position on the compatibility of the existing Austrian provisions with the law in the European Union. Plaintiffs are several Austrian private individuals.


If the lawsuit in the Austrian Constitutional Court fails, DIGNITAS reserves the right to refer the case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Strasbourg. For more information, read the (German) press release of DIGNITAS Switzerland.