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Politics

New Penal Code Bill Posted for Public Consultation

November 29, 2023

ATHENS – A bill drafted by the justice ministry which aims to bring substantial changes to the country’s penal code and to expedite the administration of justice overall was released to public consultation on Tuesday.

Greek Justice Minister Giorgos Floridis presented the bill titled ‘Amendment of the Penal Code & the Code of Criminal Procedure & Dealing with Domestic Violence’, in the presence of Deputy Justice Minister Ioannis Bougas.

Floridis noted that the bill was approved by the prime minister and the cabinet, and he added that it puts an end to a feeling of impunity that prevails in society, in his own words.

Promising to reform Greece’s criminal and judicial system, the bill foresees, for example, that most felonies will be punished more severely with steeper penalties: the maximum sentence for theft and robbery, fraud, embezzlement and forgery, among many more, will be raised to 20 from 15 years.

Increasing the maximum prison term for a series of felonies to 25 years (from 20) and for a series of misdemeanors to 10 years (from 8) is also foreseen. Terms for furloughs and reduced sentences concerning some types of felony offenders will also come under closer scrutiny, it was added.

The bill also promises to curb both petty and serious crimes while simultaneously fighting impunity, and also speeding up the criminal procedure, these being the two pillars for a faster delivery of justice in the country, it was noted. On the latter, minimizing delays and the judicial procedures that cause delays is a major target of this bill. Most misdemeanors will be tried by a single presiding judge as opposed to a three-judge court – which are set to be abolished for minor crimes.

Another example is arsonists, who will be punished from three to five years in prison, while those who set fires with malicious intent will receive up to a life sentence.

Finally, the bill aims to protect the family institution, including minors and women, as they are increasingly affected by domestic violence, by enriching prosecutors with more judicial tools for a more effective, faster outcome and higher sentences for offenders.

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