Over the last 30 years, Switzerland has been actively engaged in the field of asset recovery, notably in strengthening the cooperation and coordination between states on an international stage. For example, since 2001, international expert seminars are held on a regular basis in Lausanne ("Lausanne Seminars"). Within the Lausanne Process, Switzerland is working in close cooperation with the International Centre for Asset Recovery (ICAR) of the Basel Institute on Governance and with the support of the World Bank/UNODC Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (StAR).
Concretely, the Lausanne Seminars are an important instrument in the fight against illicitly acquired assets of politically exposed persons. They are particularly addressed to practitioners in the field of asset recovery, and participants from around 30 different jurisdictions and international organisations regularly participate in these seminars.
The aim of the Lausanne Seminars is to discuss actual asset recovery challenges and ways to overcome them. They enable participating foreign ministries and judicial authorities to deploy their direct contacts, to strengthen their networks, as well as to share and transfer knowledge amongst each other. In other words, the Lausanne Process encourages the spirit of partnership between requesting and requested States and strengthens a strategic and proactive approach to asset recovery.
Throughout the Lausanne Seminars, a number of recurring challenges have been discussed, including discrepancies between different national legal systems, limited exposure of countries in political transition to the asset recovery process, practical issues of international mutual legal assistance and other barriers to asset recovery. During the political upheaval 2011 in the Arab World, the issue of illicitly acquired potentate funds was drawing worldwide attention. Lausanne VI (2012) and VII (2013) were therefore fully devoted to the issue of recovering such funds.
Participants of Lausanne VIII in 2014 have thereafter consolidated this accumulated knowledge in the form of the Guidelines for the Efficient Recovery of Stolen Assets. The mandate to develop the Guidelines and a step-by-step guide stemmed from the UN General Assembly (A/RES/68/195) and the Conference of States Parties to the UNCAC (CAC/COSP Res. 5/3). The Conference renewed its encouragement for States to draw upon the Guidelines and use them in their asset recovery efforts at its sixth session held in 2015 (CAC/COSP Res. 6/2, 6/3). In 2016, the participants of Lausanne IX have started to break down the Guidelines into single steps of action allowing for an efficient, practical application. This user-friendly step-by-step guide will be finalized in 2017 during Lausanne X and would be presented at the CoSP 2017.