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Mauritania: Plan to Revise Criminal Code to Include Rape

(May 22, 2009) According to a statement from the Mauritanian Association for Maternal and Child Health, a United Nations-funded nongovernmental organization in the country's capital city of Nouakchott, there is no mention of rape in the criminal laws of Mauritania. Women who attempt to press charges for sexual assaults are often themselves viewed as criminals, […]

China: Amendment Seven to Criminal Law Passed

(Apr. 30, 2009) On February 28, 2009, the Standing Committee of the Eleventh National People's Congress adopted Amendment Seven to the Criminal Law, which entered into effect on the same day. Previously, in August 2008, a draft of Amendment Seven was published on the National People's Congress website to solicit public opinion (hereinafter Draft). (See […]

Czech Republic: “Muzzle Law” Curtailing Freedom of the Press Enters into Force

(Apr. 27, 2009) On April 1, 2009, an amendment to the Czech Penal Code that prohibits the press from revealing the identity of victims of serious crime and the contents of conversations wiretapped by the police entered into force. Persons convicted of “unauthorized handling of personal data” (under section 178 of the Penal Code) face […]

Russia: No Criminal Liability for Medical Errors

(Apr. 2, 2009) On March 10, 2009, the State Duma (legislature) of the Russian Federation adopted amendments to article 124 of the country's Criminal Code, which establishes the punishment for refusal to provide assistance to a sick person. An amendment bill introduced by the leading pro-government party faction “United Russia” was almost unanimously passed in […]

Russia: Criminal Liability for Selling Alcohol to Minors

(Apr. 1, 2009) On March 3, 2009, a bill on amendments to the Criminal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure was introduced in the State Duma (legislature) of the Russian Federation. The bill provides for the establishment of criminal responsibility for selling tobacco and alcohol products, including beer, to individuals under 18 years of […]

Zimbabwe: Juveniles to Be Flogged for Homosexual Act

(Mar. 30, 2009) A regional magistrate in Zimbabwe sentenced two 16-year-old high school students who pleaded guilty to sodomy charges to receive “moderate” corporal punishment of three caning strokes each, to be administered by a designated prison officer. In addition, the magistrate imposed on the teenage boys a conditionally suspended one-year prison sentence for five […]

Brazil: Penal Code Amended to Cover “Lightning” Kidnappings

(Mar. 30, 2009) On March 24, 2009, the Brazilian Federal Senate approved a bill criminalizing a new type of crime currently being practiced in Brazil, the “lightning kidnapping” (sequestro-relâmpago). The crime is characterized by the kidnapping of a person for a short period of time, while the criminals try to obtain, from the victim or […]

Russia: Criminal Law and the Soviet Role in WWII

(Mar. 6, 2009) On February 24, 2009, the Vice-Chairman of the Federation Council (the upper chamber of the Russian legislature), while in Poland attending events commemorating the anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi extermination camp Auschwitz on January 27, 1945, stated that Russia may join other Western countries whose laws establish criminal responsibility for […]

El Salvador: Amendment to Criminal Code

(Mar. 3, 2009) Decree 745 of November 21, 2008, amends article 338-B of the Criminal Code of El Salvador concerning trafficking of prohibited objects in penitentiaries and in centers of detention or reeducation. The entry into, introduction of, trafficking in, possession of, or circulation inside a penitentiary or detention or reeducation center of objects prohibited […]

Brazil: Castration for Pedophiles

(Feb. 9, 2009) The Brazilian Congress is currently debating a proposed law that amends the Penal Code to impose a punishment of chemical castration on persons convicted of committing rape or other sexual crimes against children and adolescents. The proposal makes the chemical punishment mandatory for recurrent convicts and optional for first-time offenders. The author […]