On 25 February 2009, the Federal Council decided to extend the freezing of the Mobutu assets until 30 April 2009 to enable the Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) to have all the time it needed for a thorough examination of the case and the criminal complaint lodged by the Democratic Republic of the Congo. On 21 April 2009, the OAG decided, on the basis of the Statue of Limitations, not to launch an inquiry in Switzerland.
Acting as a private person, Mark Pieth, professor of criminal law at the University of Basel, on 27 April 2009 lodged a complaint with the Appeals Chamber of the Federal Criminal Court (FCC) as the supervisory authority with regard to preliminary examinations in criminal cases that come under the jurisdiction of the OAG.
The Federal Council, after being consulted in a round-about manner, felt the best policy would be to extend the measure freezing the assets to 31 October 2009 at the latest, so as to allow the FCC the time needed to consider the complaint of Professor Pieth. Without such an extension, and in the event of a positive outcome from this procedure, there was the risk that the frozen accounts would be emptied by the Mobutu heirs as of 1 May 2009. In acting thus the Federal Council avoids the possibility of the new complaint being rendered groundless.
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