September 19, 2014
Some increase, others decreaseWednesday, March 5, 2014
A closer look at how some criminal sentences would change
Sergio Massa’s crusade against the Penal Code reform that claims the bill would ultimately benefit criminals has focussed on certain crimes.
For instance, the Renewal Front leader complained that because the bill removes the possibility of life imprisonment it could end up negatively affecting the three-decade struggle of human rights organizations to take to court those who committed crimes against humanity during the last dictatorship.
Furthermore, Massa complains of the reduction in penalties for crimes such as aggravated homicide, torture, kidnapping, human trafficking, aggravated rape, procuring, gun—point robbery, drug- trafficking and the participation in de facto governments.
The former Tigre mayor is right to note that under the proposed reform the penalties for some crimes would decrease.
In the proposed reform, the penalty for aggravated homicide woud inevitably decrease because of the removal of the possibility of life imprisonment. The person accused of torture can be given from eight to 20 years in prison,whereas — in the current Code — the sentence can reach 25 years.
The minimum sentence for kidnapping a person is reduced from five to four years, although the maximum stays the same at 15 years.
Regarding human-trafficking, the bill establishes a lower minimum penalty of three years and the maximum climbs to eight years. However, a new crime is incorporated. If the victim of human-trafficking is less than 13 years old, the penalty jumps from eight to 15 years in jail.
Sources from the drafting commission told the Herald that procuring is not decriminalized, as Massa’s front members have been saying. In fact, the penalty goes from three to six years in prison.
The number of years in prison for rape does not change from the current Penal Code with a possible six-to-15-year sentence. However, the penalty for raping a minor is higher, reaching 18 years in jail whereas until now it was 15 years maximum.
Massa also complained that someone accused of armed robbery can be released from prison, because the minimum is set at three years.
Some penalties rise
Yet the reform is not just about decreasing potential sentences — some increase. If a public servant does not impede torture from taking place, the penalty increases from five to 15 years, whereas the current Penal Code set the penalty at anywhere from three to 10 years.
Penalties for theft increase from six months to two years but those convicted for that crime can avoid prison. Regarding robbery, penalties also go up from six months to six years. The number of years given if the robbery is committed by a security force member climbs from three to 12 years in prison.
Massa also complained about a reduction from 20 to 15 years for the maximum sentence for those taking part in a de facto government.
But a new crime has been included that makes reference to those attacking democracy. The drafting commission added the offence of trying to conspire against a democratic government, which has a penalty of six years. However, if a person involved in the conspiracy reveals the plot to an authority before it takes place, he can avoid prison altogether.