Legislative news concerning Criminal Law
The legislative developments in the fields of criminal law and criminal proceedings are expected with particular interest given that the ministry of Justice has pronounced a series of changes crucially affecting pending criminal cases.
More specifically, the Minister of Justice Mr. Charalampos Athanasiou announced in Parliament that new legislation is about to be brought forward, pursuant to whichthe debtors who are proven as unable to repay their debts will be treated with leniency in order for them to avoid any criminal consequences. Although the conditions and criteria for said regulation were not specified –as for example the debt amount for which this shall apply – the amendment is expected soon in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance regulating pending cases as well.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Justice is in the process of drafting a new lawconcerning the development of assets (principally bank accounts) which have been frozen or seized during the criminal procedure (the so-called "collateral") and, according to the Minister of Justice's statements, these are intended to be used for the relief of the socially weakest groups.
The implementation of the system of remote monitoring of the detainees, the so-called "bracelet", shall mark the beginning of some changes. This is a measure applied in other countries and aims at the decongestion of prisons without entailing risks for the public safety. This measure is about to be used mostly for prisoners who receive leaves, who are on conditional release as well as for those who are under temporary custody (pre-trial detention).The Deputy Minister of Finance Mr. Chr. Staikouras has already signed a decision pursuant to which a specific budget shall be allocated for this pilot project while the relevant invitation to tender has been opened.
Finally, the bill of the Ministry of Justice concerningthe sexual abuse and exploitation of children and child pornographywas voted on principle on broad consensus. This concerns the incorporation of a relevant Directive of the European Union which aims at the effective handling of the modern forms of crime using technology and communications, as crimes committed through internet keep increasing. Additionally, the leniency measures in favour of minors are broaden, in order to prevent their prosecution for certain crimes, as well as their deportation, provided their participation in said criminal acts were a direct consequence of their being victims of said crimes (avoidance of "secondary victimization").