Two bills to add femicide to the penal code submitted to the Chamber
Saturday, 23 November 2019
Sophie Rohonyi and François De Smet have submitted two bills to the Chamber to get femicide added to the penal code, Le Soir reported on Saturday.
Both the Brussels regional DéFi party and the Walloon socialist PS submitted a bill to add femicide to the penal code.
The definition used will be the one adopted by the World Health Organisation (WHO): “Any murder of a woman or girl simply because they are female.”
Minister for Justice Koen Geens (CD&V) thinks there is nothing to gain from specific criminalisation in the penal code as it already includes aggravating circumstances due to sex or vulnerability.
“But the penal code already includes other specific crimes, such as patricide or infanticide. We want to add femicide for crimes the legislator already considers serious enough to warrant separate penal infractions,” said Rohonyi. She is the symbolic figurehead for the measure, which won’t affect the length of sentences given to those convicted: “the penal code’s role is to tell society what is acceptable and what is not. Do we think it’s normal that between 30 and 40 women a year in Belgium are killed just because they are women?”
Adding it to the penal code “is not the only solution,” Rohonyi admitted. “It has to be part of a global plan.”
“The fight against violence must be made a priority in the next government agreement. Even if we can already begin to act now,” she concluded.