vineri, 17 iunie 2011

Knowingly transmitting HIV is a criminal offence in Romania.


Recently two senators - Mr. Ruşeţ Ion and Urban Iulian - PDL senators, decided to complete the Penal Code with an aggravating punishment between 15-25 years for AIDS patients who infect other people, if this leads to the victim's death. Although apparently the proposal seems good, the way things are done is disappointing.

Their reason was to cover a gap in the current Penal Code, I would say a non-existent gap as shown below. Government urged caution shortening the sentence between 7-15 years to match the new Penal Code adopted and published in the Official Gazette which shall enter into force on 1 October 2011.

None of the two initiators and not even the other senators have wondered what is the difference between HIV and AIDS or how do you establish if the newly infected person did or did not know about the partener’s condition.

Remains a mystery how Romanian lawmakers imagine the offender have said before contact that has HIV or AIDS. In writing? Filming their statement?

Although criminal prosecutions of individuals with HIV are relatively rare, concerns about the use of confidential healthcare or public health information in such prosecutions are by no means hypothetical. all a prosecutor would need, is evidence that on that date, the defendant knew he or she was infected with HIV and knew that his or her behavior posed a risk of transmission.

Current law is vague, unclear and allows interpretations and the new paragraph adopted by the Senate is equally vague, almost meaningless in the context of the new Criminal Code that will come into effect in several months

Furthermore, although the culpability extends to all forms of infection and not just sex, new Criminal Code is a disaster in most respects. The biggest issue is that it criminalizes those who transmit HIV without knowing they are infected.

In conclusion, we mention explicitly that we are against deliberate infection with HIV and we agree that is an aggravating circumstance in the punishment of perpetrators, but you can not punish somebody if he or she did not know that has HIV / AIDS and unintentionally transmitted the virus.

The logical deduction is that a HIV /AIDS information program should be done first in Parliament, because they make many mistakes and confusion (in ignorance or not) between HIV and AIDS in the very motivation of their initiative. So the law should do better distinguish and clarify exactly when it comes to HIV infection and when it comes to an AIDS. Currently the law speaks of disease transmission when in fact is transmitted the virus that can trigger the disease only after years of infection!

The bill initiated by the two senators:

“Transmission of a venereal disease by sexual intercourse, by sex between same-sex persons or acts of sexual perversion by a person who knows to suffer from such disease shall be punished with imprisonment from one to five years. Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome transmission - AIDS - by a person known to suffer from this disease is punished with imprisonment from five to 15 years. If the offense resulted in death of the victim, the punishment is imprisonment from 15 to 25 years”

The final draft, adopted by the Senat:

“Transmission of a venereal disease by sexual intercourse, by sex between same-sex persons or acts of sexual perversion by a person who knows to suffer from such disease shall be punished with imprisonment for 1-5 years. Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome transmission - AIDS - by a person suffering from this disease know that is punishable by imprisonment for 5-15 years. If the offense resulted in death of the victim, the punishment is imprisonment from 7 to 15 years”

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