New Penal Code for Sint Maarten per 1 June

PHILIPSBURG - On June 1, 2015 the new Penal Code (AB 2013, no. 2) came into effect in country Sint Maarten. As of that date the outdated Penal Code of the Netherlands Antilles has been revoked and thus is no longer valid.
 
Still, to a person who already was a suspect before June 1, 2015 the most favorable provision of the two laws will apply.
 
The new Penal Code is published (in Dutch) on the official website of the government of Sint Maarten: www.sintmaartengov.org (go to Official Publications>2013). It should be read in conjunction with the Implementation ordinance Penal Code (AB 2015, no. 9). This is due to the fact that this implementation ordinance did some repair work on the new Penal Code as a consequence of the decision of the Constitutional Court of November 8, 2013. In this first ever decision of the Constitutional Court some provisions of the new Penal Code were deemed unconstitutional and therefore needed to be revised.
 
A consolidated text of the new Penal Code (i.e. as amended by the Implementation ordinance Penal Code) will soon be published in the Laws Database of Sint Maarten , which also can be found at the Government's website mentioned above.
 
The coming into effect of the new Penal Code was long overdue. The Penal Code of the Netherlands Antilles was archaic and dated. The existing penalties had to be revised and adjusted to the needs of current times. New and alternative penalty modalities had to be regulated and archaic crimes had to be scrubbed. National needs and international developments and obligations made it necessary to better regulate 'new' crimes e.g. (financing of) terrorism and money laundering with the requisite penalties and to pay more attention to juvenile delinquency and juvenile criminal law.
 
Listed below are the most important changes in relation to the old law and policies:
 
• Capital punishment has been formally abolished. The death sentence cannot be passed on the basis of the new Penal Code.
 
• For serious crimes life imprisonment can be imposed. Under the new Penal Code life imprisonment means in principle imprisonment for one's entire life. Only after having served 25 years of his life sentence the convicted person will be eligible for a first judicial review of his sentence.
 
• Community service has been regulated as a separate and full criminal justice sentence. Community service can consist of doing unpaid work for the public or its institutions or attending mandatory therapy sessions (e.g. anger management and drug and alcohol control) or a combination of both.
 
The system of fixed fines, used in the Penal Code of the Netherlands Antilles, also has been abolished. The new Penal Code introduces six categories of fines, ranging from a maximum of ANG 500,- (category 1) to ANG 1.000.000,- (category 6).

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