Penal Procedural Code takes centre stageWednesday, April 30, 2014
Senate to vote on registered labour bill
Taking a cue from the Lower House, the Senate yesterday began the process of reviewing various reform proposals for the Penal Procedural Code.
The review is separate to any reforms to the Penal Code but would also have an impact on the administration of criminal justice.
The Justice and Criminal Affairs Committee of the Senate, led by Victory Front (FpV) Senator Pedro Guastavino (Entre Ríos), thus joins the Penal Legislation Committee of the Lower House in its review of the rules of procedure for the investigation and eventual acquittal or conviction of defendants.
In addition, a draft reform is also anticipated from the Executive Branch, which Justice Minister Julio Alak has indicated “is due to be finished in 15 or 20 days” according to Guastavino.
The Lower House of Congress is also studying the matter, with 17 drafts of its own. Expert testimony has been given to the Penal Legislation Committee as well.
Broadly speaking, many of the bills seek to modify the current code, changing it from an “inquisitorial” system to an “adversarial” one with greater emphasis on the role of prosecutors to lead investigations instead of judges.
The current system is considered to “semi-inquisitorial,” in which the responsibilities are shared between the prosecutor and the judge. Other proposals include the possibility of oral trials and trial by jury.
Bills with partial amendments have also been presented by FpV Senators Mansilla, Fellner and Giménez, among others, as well as Cimadevilla (UCR), Negre de Alonso, Basualdo (Federal Peronism) and Juez (UNEN-Broad Front / Civic Front).
Bills in the Chamber
The Senate will today vote on a bill that promotes registered labour through a series of sanctions against companies found to have hired employees under the table and that includes tax-breaks for new hires who are duly registered.
The bill is expected to be approved with at least some opposition support.
Today’s session will also feature a vote on a bill addressing narcotics addictions which has already been passed by the Lower House.
The bill stipulates the inclusion of drug treatment programmes in health insurance plans, the creation of community-based prevention centres, and educational and labour incentives to help former addicts be reinserted into society.
As such, the bill emphasizes rehabilitating addicts rather than punishing drug consumption and has received broad support from the government and the opposition and should pass today.