New Penal Code is being handled

The recent Central Committee meeting of Curaçao's Parliament on the amendment of the Penal Code was closed with the request to draw up a final report and have Minister of Justice Elmer Wilsoe (PS) answer the questions presented in writing. Approval is thus finally in sight.

The latter is necessary, because the process to achieve amendment has been ongoing since 2003, when a special committee was set up. A draft was presented to the then-Antillean Minister of Justice in December 2006, who forwarded it to the Advisory Council in 2008.

The latter sent it to the Antillean Parliament for discussion the following year. However, that parliament ended up passing the issue on to the two Parliaments of the new countries Curaçao and St. Maarten.

This was subsequently followed by several presentations from Professor of Criminal Law Hans den Doelder, among others. The last questions in Curacao's Parliament were presented during the Central Committee meeting.

The allotted speaking time for the first round had been set at 35 minutes. However, the only four parliamentarians who had signed in to speak Gilmar Pisas (MFK), Helmin Wiels (PS), Eunice Eisden (MAN) and Pedro Atacho (PAR) did not make full use of this by a long shot.

The questions asked regarded the penalisation of abortion and euthanasia, the articles on terrorism and the financing of such, travel bans and bans on areas, the feasibility of community service sentencing under guidance of the Resettlement Bureau, Placement at the disposal of state TBR (detention in a hospital/youth custody centre) and the non-inclusion of minimum sentences in the amended version.

Opposition member Atacho (PAR) pointed out the importance of approving the amendment. Besides the articles mentioned, youth criminal law, more rights for victims, penalisation of people-smuggling and human-trafficking as well as exceptional tracking methods for law enforcement were included.

Approval of the code is necessary, if Curaçao wants to keep up with the times and legally execute treaties already signed, otherwise the new country will risk a negative image and inclusion on black lists.

After the final report and the minister answering the questions in writing, the approval of the amended code can be added as agenda item for discussion in a public Parliament meeting. A date has not been set yet.

25 June 2011

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