Sexual abuse of minors: Parliament rectifies ‘oversight’ reducing statute of limitations
Friday, 29 November 2019
The bill has to rectify a previous oversight. Credit: Belga
A plenary session of Parliament on Thursday unanimously approved a draft “remedial” law, aiming to overrule the present statute of limitations period in cases of sexual abuse of minors, after an error was discovered in a text voted at the beginning of the month.
This “oversight” could have had the effect of reducing the statute of limitations for the most serious crime covered by the law, rape of an adult resulting in death, which would only become punishable for a maximum of 10 years after the event, rather than 15.
By voting the text in plenary on 7 November, which had as the main objective to make sure sexual crimes against minors no longer had a statute of limitation, MPs notably changed the provisions of Articles 21 and 21 bis of the Code of Criminal Procedure that refer to the 10-year statute of limitations (instead of 15) relating to rape or assault leading to the death of an adult.
The error was discovered by Zakia Khattabi, soon to sit on the Constitutional Court, and Stefaan Van Hecke, both members of the Green party.
“The present draft law fixes this clerical error,” said John Crombez, who is the author of the new draft.