Islands’ Penal Code on rape to be updated

The Ca­ribbean Netherlands Pe­nal Law will be adapted to make it punishable for rape and sexual abuse suspects to harm their victims while the latter’s consciousness is di­minished by the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.

Dutch Minister of Justice and Security Ferd Grap­perhaus announced this in a letter he sent to the Sec­ond Chamber of the Dutch Parliament this week in re­sponse to written questions by Members of Parliament (MPs) Chris van Dam and Joba van den Berg, both from the Christian Demo­cratic Party CDA.

Van Dam and Van den Berg had expressed their concerns about the acquittal of a sus­pect by the Court in Bonaire of rape charges because the victim had been in a dimin­ished state of consciousness. They considered it unac­ceptable that an outdated criminal law could lead to an acquittal of certain crimes in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. The incident took place in June last year.

The Court in March this year acquitted the Curacao-born man because, accord­ing to the Caribbean Neth­erlands Penal Law, it is not punishable to willingly enter the body of a person who is in a state of diminished con­sciousness.

Minister Grapperhaus admitted that the articles inad­vertently had not been up­dated when the Penal Code for the Caribbean Nether­lands was introduced in 2010 at which time Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba became. Dutch public entities.

The minister promised that a law proposal to amend this part of the Penal Code will be submitted to the Second Chamber before the summer recess. This will bring the Penal Code in line with the existing legislation in Aruba, Curacao and St. Maarten re­garding the diminished state of consciousness of sexual abuse and rape victims.

Grapperhaus said the Bo­naire case where the suspect was acquitted was the only one in which it was evident that the rights of the victim had been violated.

The Daily Herald.

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