New Penal Code: Stricter Penalties for Serious Crimes

The Greek Ministry of Justice continues to amend the Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code.

The amendments provide for stricter penalties for serious crimes, sexual crimes, crimes against minors and gender-based violence.

The amendments also provide for the extension of the term of release in conditions of grave offenses and those sentenced to life imprisonment. They will have to serve at least 4/5 of the sentence, unlike other criminals, who can be cut off to 1/2 or even 1/3 of the original sentence. They won’t be allowed under house arrest, even with tracking devices. Among other things, the amendments plan to make arson a criminal offense.

According to the Ministry of Justice, amendments to both codes, proposed by the Minister of Justice, Konstantinos Tsiaras, and ratified at a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers, will be immediately submitted for public discussion.

The tightening of punishment followed the recent brutal killings of two young women, as well as a wave of allegations of sexual crimes by victims, including minors.

Four standards of reference

The bill introduces norms based on 4 main areas:

First, the tightening of the framework for punishment for specific crimes of particular criminal value. Secondly, the tightening of the conditional release of convicts, as well as the cancellation of the release of criminals who repeatedly commit serious crimes. Third, the restoration and extension of the corpus delicti to general atrocities, such as arson, explosion, flooding, etc., to crimes related to changing the punishment for theft and embezzlement (in their form of misconduct). Fourth, the unconditional priority of interrogation and bringing to court cases of an exceptional nature or crimes related to crimes against sexual freedom and economic exploitation of sexual life.

The proposed rules include, inter alia, the following:

For crimes such as high treason, murder, gang rape and rape of a minor, as well as fatal robbery, only life sentences are now imposed. The previous provision of part 1 of Article 310 of the Criminal Code on grievous bodily harm has been restored. The provision on personal injury by negligence was tightened (paragraph 1 of article 314 of the Criminal Code) and a new provision was added, according to which bodily harm to an employee while performing work is an aggravating circumstance. The unlawful assassination provision, which was canceled with the amendment of the Criminal Code in June 2019, has been reinstated. The framework for the provision of public works in the event of failure to provide or improper performance of this work by the convicted person is being changed and refined. To limit arbitrary suspension, a previous conviction prior to a sentence of more than 3 years is reinstated to automatically defer the execution of the sentence.

On conditional release:

For serious criminal offenses such as drugs, murder, robbery, crimes against sexual freedom, parole is prohibited with electronic surveillance under house arrest. In the case of temporary imprisonment for crimes under the drug law (special form), criminal organization, terrorist acts, high treason, murder, robbery, extortion, rape and all crimes against sexual freedom, the possibility of conditional release is granted only if the offender spent 4/5 of the term indicated by the sentence behind bars. In addition to the above crimes, for cases of life imprisonment, the minimum period of stay of a convicted person in a correctional institution has been increased from 16 years (current estimate) to 18 years.

For crimes against sexual freedom:

The limitation period for crimes against sexual freedom, if committed against a minor, will begin at the age of one and within one year if the act is a misdemeanor, and within three years if it is a crime. Offending the sexual dignity and sexual integrity of minors will be prosecuted. Violation of sexual dignity committed in the context of an addictive relationship (work, etc.) is now punishable only by imprisonment (the possibility of punishment for this act has been removed, alternatively a fine) and is prosecuted ex officio. Incest, which has been recognized as a misdemeanor since June 2019, returns to the list of articles of the criminal code. The crime of sexual intercourse with or before minors (article 339 of the Criminal Code) in its basic form is now punishable only as a serious crime.

Also, with the proposed changes:

The criminalization of violations related to adoption has been expanded (article 360 ​​A of the Criminal Code), and other behavior has been added as criminally significant. Now those who give their child up for adoption, those who adopt them, and those who act as an intermediary in the adoption, earning themselves or offering another illegal property, are punished. The framework of punishment for crimes related to theft and embezzlement (in the form of misconduct) has been tightened. Provisions for common crimes have been tightened: arson, forest arson, flood, explosion, etc.

Photo courtesy of depositphotos

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