ZAGREB, October 24, 2019 – The Croatian government on Thursday sent into parliamentary procedure several amendments to the Penal Code, the Criminal Procedure Act and the Protection from Domestic Violence Act which would impose more stringent penalisation with the aim of preventing and countering violence, particularly family violence.
“The important aim of this set of draft amendments is also to make criminal procedure swifter,” Justice Minister Dražen Bošnjaković said at the government’s meeting.
Amendments of the Penal Code thus envisage that assaults against social workers or teachers would be treated as an assault against official persons.
The changes also introduce stricter penalties for domestic violence and violence against women. Also, in the future the qualification of sexual intercourse without consent would be treated as rape, which will be punishable with one to ten years’ imprisonment.
The minimum sentence for domestic violence will be raised from the current three months of imprisonment to a year in prison.
Also, changes of the criminal procedure legislation will make the procedure swifter and in accordance with the EU acquis.
The proposed changes also envisage the abolishing of criminal libel.
So far there have been few cases of treating some acts as criminal libel and the minister said that this offence in the future can be treated through a civil action. If defamation is proven in a civil action, the plaintiff can seek protection and damages, according to the minister’s explanation.
Prime Minister Andrej Plenković welcomed the annulment of criminal libel as “a signal for the further respect of media freedoms in the country.”
Amending the Penal Code, the Criminal Procedure Act and the Protection from Domestic Violence Act will introduce stricter penalties and is in accordance with our policy of preventing and countering family violence, he said.
Addressing his cabinet’s meeting, the premier said that the amending of the above-mentioned laws was conducted in cooperation with legal experts and associations engaged in the protection of women and children against violence.
“I thank everyone from the nongovernmental sector for their help in making the legislative proposal more precise and better,” the premier said.
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