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Orban: By notifying CCR, Gov't doesn't seek to block sentence increase for child sexual offenders

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Ludovic Orban

The notification sent by the Government to the Constitutional Court (CCR) does not seek to block the increase of penalties for child sexual offenders, but to eliminate any constitutional "vulnerabilities" from the provisions of the normative act, Prime Minister Ludovic Orban explained in a reply to the open letter addressed to him by several NGOs regarding the Executive's challenge with the CCR of the draft law amending some articles of the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code.

"The theses released in the public space by certain politicians and which have aroused your concern are completely false. (...) The notification sent by the Romanian Government to the Constitutional Court does not seek to block the increase of penalties for child sexual offenders, as certain politicians have deliberately suggested, once again proving that they are capable of exploiting anything for their own benefit, trampling on the truth and cynically manipulating the citizens," Orban said.

According to him, the Government's intervention in the procedure for the constitutional check of laws before promulgation does not intend to block the promotion of the normative act, but to eliminate any constitutional "vulnerabilities", "so as not to compromise the entire legislative process", as a result of possible subsequent referrals to the Constitutional Court through the exceptions of unconstitutionality raised before the courts.

"The referral does not aim at increasing the penalties proposed by law, but refers to a single provision, which was introduced during the debates in the Legal Committee of the decision-making Chamber, in the form of an amendment, affecting the coherence of the institution of criminal liability prescription," the prime minister said.

He added that the legislative solution on no limitation statutes for criminal liability for crimes of rape and sexual intercourse with a minor comes "in dissonance" with the existing legislative solutions in the Criminal Code in the case of crimes in the same field, having the same legal object, such as the trafficking of persons (art. 210 of the Criminal Code), trafficking in minors (art. 211 of the Criminal Code), pimping (art. 213 of the Criminal Code), sexual assault (art. 219 of the Criminal Code), child pornography (art. 374 of the Criminal Code), which would continue to be subject to the prescription of criminal liability, "only rape and sexual intercourse with a minor being not subject to limitation, which would also create discrimination against the victims of such crimes".

"I am aware that the trauma of a child victim of sexual assault leaves traces for the rest of their life and this type of crime must be (...) punished as severely as possible and investigated and tried at any time after its occurrence. This does not mean, however, that that a child victim of pimping or human trafficking is less affected and that the beasts who commit these crimes do not have to bear the same legal measures. By the referral sent to the Constitutional Court, the Government sought to respect the constitutional principles, given that a law adopted with constitutional vulnerabilities will generate further difficulties in its application, for example, declaring it as unconstitutional after its adoption, with the impact of ongoing cases and will have the opposite effect than expected," Orban went on to say.

He said that the referral to the CCR "does not protect criminals", "as claim precisely the politicians of the party that proposed, supported and adopted laws for the release from prison of tens of thousands of criminals, including some who committed sexual crimes against minors [the Social Democratic Party - ed.n.].

According to the prime minister, the referral seeks, "especially", to eliminate a legal vulnerability through the adoption of a legislative framework "that would be discriminatory" for the victims of a certain crime and that could lead to the compromise of the entire law, including the possibility that those who commit sexual offenses and sexual offenses against minors to escape punishment for this reason.

He maintained that the Government had made a "substantial contribution" to the process of adopting the legislative proposal to amend and supplement Law 286/2009 on the Criminal Code, as well as to amend Article 2.23 paragraph (2) of Law 135/2010 on the Criminal Procedure Code, both by issuing a favorable opinion and by setting forth amendments during parliamentary debates, "including by setting forth concrete legislative solutions on tightening the sanctioning regime for all crimes against sexual freedom and integrity, as well as on those regarding trafficking in human beings and minors or child pornography, and not only for those who were the initial object of the legislative proposal, which is much more restricted."

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